Auditory sensory gating, hippocampal volume, and catecholamine metabolism in schizophrenics and their siblings

Merilyne C. Waldo, Ellen Cawthra, Lawrence E. Adler, Sherry Dubester, Mary Staunton, Herbert Nagamoto, Neil Baker, Alice Madison, Jack Simon, Ann Scherzinger, Carla Drebing, Greg Gerhardt, Robert Freedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Schizophrenia may result from the concentrated action of several pathophysiological factors. This pilot study compared the distribution of measurements of three such putative factors in 11 schizophrenics and their siblings: a neurophysiological deficit in auditory sensory gating, diminished hippocampal volume, and increased catecholamine metabolism. Abnormal auditory sensory gating was found in all schizophrenics in the 11 families studied and in 8 of their 20 siblings. Compared with the schizophrenics, the clinically unaffected siblings with abnormal auditory gating had larger hippocampal volume. There was no similar difference for the siblings with normal gating. The siblings with abnormal auditory gating also had lower homovanillic acid levels than the other siblings. The data suggest that a familial neuronal deficit, identified by diminished sensory gating, may be a necessary, but not sufficient factor in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Individuals with this deficit are generally clinically unaffected, except for schizophrenics, who also have other abnormalities, such as diminished hippocampal volume and increased catecholamine metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-106
Number of pages14
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1994

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by funds from the Veteran’s Administration Medical Research Service, NARSAD, and USPHS Grants MH44212, MH00728, MH3832a1n, d RR00051.


  • (Schizophrenia)
  • Auditory evoked potential
  • Dopamine
  • Hippocampus
  • Homovanillic acid
  • Pathophysiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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