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Effects of clonidine on MMN and P3a amplitude in schizophrenia patients on stable medication

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Schizophrenia is a complex brain disease involving several neurotransmitter systems, including aberrant noradrenergic activity, which might underlie cognitive deficits. Clonidine is an α2A-agonist and previous research has demonstrated that single dosages of clonidine normalize sensori(motor) gating in schizophrenia. Currently, we investigated whether clonidine is able to normalize mismatch negativity (MMN) and P3a amplitude deficits in this same group of patients. This is important, since reports have shown that MMN amplitude is associated with cognitive functioning and daily life functions in schizophrenia. Twenty chronically ill, male schizophrenia patients were tested with the MMN paradigm from the Copenhagen Psychophysiological Test Battery (CPTB) on 5 occasions, separated by a week. Patients received randomized, yet balanced, either a placebo or a single dose (25, 50, 75 or 150 μg) of clonidine (each dose only once) on top of their usual medication on each occasion. Patients were matched on age and gender with 20 healthy controls (HC) who did not receive any treatment. We found decreased MMN and P3a amplitudes in our patients compared to HC. Although clonidine did neither significantly increase MMN nor P3a amplitude in our patients, it did increase certain levels of MMN and P3a amplitude such that these were not significantly different anymore from the healthy controls. Together with our previous reports indicating normalized sensori(motor) gating in the same patients following administration of clonidine, our results could be of potential high clinical relevance in treating schizophrenia. Future studies should focus on longer trial periods to investigate if clonidine also improves cognitive functioning in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalNeuropsychopharmacology
Volume44
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1062-1067
Number of pages6
ISSN0893-133X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

ID: 56725270