Sensitization with clozapine: Beyond the dopamine hypothesis

Janice R. Stevens, Duane Denney, Patti Szot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Clozapine elicits dose-dependent myoclonic jerks in partially restrained rats and induces paroxysmal electroencephalographic changes, myoclonus, and convulsive seizures in a small but significant percentage of patients. With the hypothesis that the central excitatory effects of clozapine may relate to the unique therapeutic activity of this agent, rats were administered repeated alternate day or weekly very low dose (1 mg/kg) injections of clozapine in an attempt to induce the central excitatory effect through sensitization or kindling. Although initial administrations of this dose elicited no motor response or other behavioral change, repeated administration of the same low dose on either the alternate-day or weekly schedule caused increasing numbers of myoclonic seizure-like jerks (MJs) reaching 75-110 MJs/hour by the sixth clozapine injection. Clozapine- sensitized animals exhibited a significantly different pattern of early gene expression in two subcortical sites compared with vehicle-treated controls. These findings may have importance for the treatment of psychosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)771-780
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Clozapine
  • Kindling
  • Myoclonus
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seizures
  • Sensitization
  • c-fos mRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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