“Endorphins, Dopamine, and Schizophrenia”: Two Discussions

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In our discussion of the article by Volavka, Davis, and Ehrlich (1979), we review several problems in their proposed endorphins-dopamine-schizophrenia hypothesis. They hypothesize that endorphin receptors directly influence the postsynaptic actions of dopamine via membrane-phosphorylation effects. Thus, a defective endorphin system in schizophrenia could result in aberrant dopamine neurotransmission. We point out that there is very little support for such a direct anatomical or biochemical link between the endorphins and dopamine. An alternative hypothesis is proposed in which a less direct linkage is required for opiate and dopamine antagonists to influence schizophrenic symptoms; this alternative hypothesis might help account for the positive responses of neuroleptic-resistant schizophrenics to naloxone and destyr-gamma-endorphin.

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