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Divergent effects of increased serotonergic activity on psychophysiological parameters of human attention

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Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are frequently combined to the antipsychotic medication of schizophrenia patients, to treat their depressed, cognitive or negative symptoms. No convincing neurochemical theory exists for this combination. The role of serotonin in those psychophysiological parameters of attention that are already found to be disturbed in schizophrenia, e.g. processing negativity (PN), mismatch negativity (MMN) and P300 amplitude, is poorly understood. In the present study the effects of increased serotonergic activity on these psychophysiological parameters is investigated. In a balanced, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over experiment 18 healthy male volunteers received an oral dose of either placebo or of 10 mg escitalopram (a highly specific SSRI) on two separate test days, after which they were tested in an auditory selective attention paradigm and a MMN paradigm. Escitalopram significantly increased PN and MMN compared to placebo, without affecting the P300 amplitude. Furthermore, administration of escitalopram resulted in a small, yet significant, reduction of task performance in the selective attention paradigm compared to placebo, while it did not affect reaction time. Contrary to what was expected, escitalopram enhanced PN and MMN, without affecting the P300 amplitude. The results are discussed in the light of dosage issues and subtypes of serotonergic receptors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Volume11
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)453-63
Number of pages11
ISSN1461-1457
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008

    Research areas

  • Acoustic Stimulation, Adult, Attention, Blood Pressure, Citalopram, Cross-Over Studies, Data Interpretation, Statistical, Double-Blind Method, Electroencephalography, Event-Related Potentials, P300, Humans, Hydrocortisone, Male, Neuropsychological Tests, Psychomotor Performance, Serotonin, Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors, Journal Article, Randomized Controlled Trial, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

ID: 49918772