5-HT1A receptor dysfunction in female patients with schizophrenia

Myung A. Lee*, Herbert Y. Meltzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Serotonin (5-HT)1A receptors are of interest in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia (SCH) and the mechanism of action of atypical antipsychotic drugs. To test the hypothesis that 5-HT1A receptor responsivity is significantly different in patients with SCH compared to normal control subjects, the neuroendocrine study was performed using ipsapirone (IPS), a 5-HT1A partial agonist, as a probe. Methods: Ipsapirone 0.5 mg/kg, p.o. or placebo were administered, in random order, to patients with SCH (n = 43; 32 male) and normal controls (n = 33; 21 male). Blood samples for plasma cortisol and body temperature were obtained from 30 min before to 180 min after administration of IPS or placebo. Results: Female normal control subjects had markedly greater increases in plasma cortisol following IPS than did male control subjects. The placebo response-corrected plasma cortisol response to IPS was significantly blunted in female SCH compared to female normal control subjects (p = .0001). The IPS-stimulated plasma cortisol response in male SCH did not differ from that of male normal control subjects or female SCH. There were no significant differences in the IPS-induced hypothermia in men and women or between patients with SCH and normal control subjects. Behavioral responses to IPS, including nausea, dizziness, irritability, and feeling less well, did not differ between groups. Conclusions: These results suggest that the post-synaptic 5-HT1A receptor mediated endocrine response is diminished in female SCH compared to female normal control subjects, possibly secondary to an abnormality in intracellular signal transduction mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)758-766
Number of pages9
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 2001


  • 5-HT1A
  • Cortisol
  • Female
  • Ipsapirone
  • Schizophrenia
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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