Schizophrenia and Disorders with Psychotic Features
Our group focuses on investigating dopaminergic changes underlying schizophrenia and psychotic disorders. It is known that patients with schizophrenia have an overly active dopamine system and show behavioral supersensitivity to amphetamine. Furthermore, we are interested in how cortical structures influence the regulation of the dopamine system and how dopamine synthesis and release are related. In our next project we will investigate the impact of Poly-unsatturated Fatty Acids on amphetamine-induced dopamine release in patients with schizophrenia, in individuals with an increased risk for schizophrenia and in healthy controls next to their cognitive abilities and brain activation during cognitive tasks.
Techniques, methods & infrastructure
By using Positron Emission Tomography and the dopamine receptor D2/3 radioligand [11C]-(+)-PHNO we calculate amphetamine-induced dopamine release in healthy subjects and in patients with schizophrenia. Furthermore by structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging we will measure structural properties of cortical regions and brain activation during different tasks.