Evaluating early preventive antipsychotic and antidepressant drug treatment in an infection-based neurodevelopmental mouse model of schizophrenia

Urs Meyer, Erica Spoerri, Kay Yan Benjamin Yee, Markus J. Schwarz, Joram Feldon

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87 Citations (Scopus)


Current pharmacotherapy of schizophrenia remains unsatisfactory with little hope for complete functional restoration in patients once the disease has developed. A preventive approach based on intervention in the prodromal stage of the disease aiming to preserve functional integrity by halting the progress of the disease is therefore extremely attractive. Here, we investigated the effects of preventive antipsychotic or antidepressant drug treatment in a well-established neurodevelopmental mouse model of multiple schizophrenia- related abnormalities. Pregnant mice on gestation day 9 were exposed to the viral mimic polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidylic acid (2 mg/kg, intravenously) or corresponding vehicle treatment, and the resulting offspring from both prenatal treatment conditions were subjected to chronic antipsychotic (haloperidol or clozapine), antidepressant (fluoxetine), or placebo treatment during the periadolescent stage of development. The effects of the preventive pharmacotherapy on behavioral and pharmacological functions were then investigated in adulthood using paradigms relevant to schizophrenia, namely prepulse inhibition, latent inhibition, and sensitivity to psychostimulant drugs. We show that periadolescent treatment with the reference antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs can successfully block the emergence of multiple psychosis-related behavioral and pharmacological abnormalities in subjects predisposed to adult brain pathology by exposure to prenatal immune challenge. At the same time, however, our study reveals numerous negative influences of the early pharmacological intervention on normal behavioral development in control subjects. Hence, even though preventive pharmacotherapy may be beneficial in individuals with predisposition to psychosis-related brain dysfunctions, chronic antipsychotic or antidepressant drug treatment in false-positive subjects is associated with substantial risk for long-term behavioral disturbances in adulthood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-623
Number of pages17
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Clozapine
  • Fluoxetine
  • Haloperidol
  • Prevention
  • Prodromal
  • Psychosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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