Mechanism for Antipsychotic Drug-Induced Parkinsonism Found

Blockage of the D2 receptor induced by antipsychotics can lead to parkinsonism.

A new study discovered the cellular mechanisms that cause parkinsonism, an adverse effect from antipsychotics that include involuntary movements, tremors, and other physical conditions.

The researchers found that the blockage of the dopamine D2 receptor in the interneurons caused this severe adverse effect. The blockage of D2 receptor increases neurotransmitter signaling over the normal threshold for neighboring neurons, and can lead to motor problems in rodents (catalepsy) and humans (parkinsonism), according to a study published in Neuron.

In mice, researchers found that they did not develop catalepsy after removing D2 receptors in nerve cells. Since their findings explain how antipsychotics can lead to parkinsonism, new drugs could potentially be created to avoid adverse effects.

Researchers also believe their findings could help develop combination therapies that could improve treatments.