Effects of aripiprazole versus risperidone on brain activation during planning and social-emotional evaluation in schizophrenia: A single-blind randomized exploratory study

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Impaired function of prefrontal brain networks may be the source of both negative symptoms and neurocognitive problems in psychotic disorders. Whereas most antipsychotics may decrease prefrontal activation, the partial dopamine D2-receptor agonist aripiprazole is hypothesized to improve prefrontal function. This study investigated whether patients with a psychotic disorder would show stronger activation of prefrontal areas and associated regions after treatment with aripiprazole compared to risperidone treatment.

In this exploratory pharmacological neuroimaging study, 24 patients were randomly assigned to either aripiprazole or risperidone. At baseline and after nine weeks treatment they underwent an interview and MRI session. Here we report on brain activation (measured with arterial spin labeling) during performance of two tasks, the Tower of London and the Wall of Faces.

Aripiprazole treatment decreased activation of the middle frontal, superior frontal and occipital gyrus (ToL) and medial temporal and inferior frontal gyrus, putamen and cuneus (WoF), while activation increased after risperidone. Activation increased in the ventral anterior cingulate and posterior insula (ToL), and superior frontal, superior temporal and precentral gyrus (WoF) after aripiprazole treatment and decreased after risperidone. Both treatment groups had increased ventral insula activation (ToL) and middle temporal gyrus (WoF), and decreased occipital cortex, precuneus and caudate head activation (ToL) activation.

In conclusion, patients treated with aripiprazole may need less frontal resources for planning performance and may show increased frontotemporal and frontostriatal reactivity to emotional stimuli. More research is needed to corroborate and extend these preliminary findings.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)112-119
Aantal pagina's8
TijdschriftProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry
Volume79, Part B
DOI's
StatusPublished - 3-okt.-2017

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