Consistent findings postulate disturbed glutamatergic function (more specifically a hypofunction of the ionotropic NMDA receptors) as an important pathophysiologic mechanism in schizophrenia. However, the role of the metabotropic glutamatergic receptors type 5 (mGluR5) in this disease remains unclear. In this study, we investigated their significance (using [ C]ABP688) for psychopathology and cognition in male patients with chronic schizophrenia and healthy controls. In the patient group, lower mGluR5 binding potential (BP ) values in the left temporal cortex and caudate were associated with higher general symptom levels (negative and depressive symptoms), lower levels of global functioning and worse cognitive performance. At the same time, in both groups, mGluR5 BP were significantly lower in smokers (F = 15.500; p = .001), but without significant differences between the groups. Our findings provide support for the concept that the impaired function of mGluR5 underlies the symptoms of schizophrenia. They further supply a new perspective on the complex relationship between tobacco addiction and schizophrenia by identifying glutamatergic neurotransmission-in particularly mGluR5-as a possible connection to a shared vulnerability.
© 2020 The Authors. Human Brain Mapping published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.