In vivo olanzapine occupancy of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in patients with schizophrenia

Thomas J. Raedler, Michael B. Knable, Douglas W. Jones, Todd Lafargue, Richard A. Urbina, Michael F. Egan, David Pickar, Daniel R. Weinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Olanzapine is an atypical antipsychotic with potent antimuscarinic properties in vitro (K(i) = 2-25 nM). We studied in vivo muscarinic receptor occupancy by olanzapine at both low dose (5 mg/dy) and high dose (20 mg/dy) in several regions of cortex, striatum, thalamus and pons by analyzing [I- 123]IQNB SPECT images of seven schizophrenia patients. Both low-dose and high-dose olanzapine studies revealed significantly lower [I-123]IQNB binding than that of drug-free schizophrenia patients (N = 12) in all regions except striatum. [I-123]IQNB binding was significantly lower at high-dose than low- dose in the same regions. Muscarinic occupancy by olanzapine ranged from 13% to 57% at 5 mg/dy and 26% to 79% at 20 mg/dy with an anatomical pattern indicating M2 subtype selectivity. The [I-123]IQNB data indicate that olanzapine is a potent and subtype-selective muscarinic antagonist in vivo, perhaps explaining its low extrapyramidal side effect profile and low incidence of anticholinergic side effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-68
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Antipsychotic
  • IQNB
  • Muscarinic receptor
  • Olanzapine
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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