A neuronal receptor sensitivity mechanism in affective illness (A review of evidence)

William E. Bunney, Robert M. Post, Arnold E. Andersen, Richard T. Kopanda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


This paper reviews evidence documenting the phenomenon of neuronal receptor site sensitivity changes in animals and man and suggests that further considering alterations in receptor sensitivity would broaden our understanding of the biology of affective illness. Many clinical phenomena, including the onset of mania, are not adequately explained by the current focus of biological hypotheses in affective illness. A model is presented which suggests that the sudden increase in motor and verbal activity associated with the onset of mania is compatible with the amplification of a released neurotransmitter agonist by a supersensitive receptor, and that the spontaneous termination of manic states could be associated with a progressive decrease in receptor sensitivity. Other clinical phenomena compatible with such a process are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-405
Number of pages13
JournalCommunications In Psychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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