Cholinergic involvement in mental disorders

Kenneth L. Davis, Philip A. Berger, Leo E. Hollister, Jack D. Barchas

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

27 Scopus citations


A recent resurgence of interest in possible cholinergic mechanisms in schizophrenia, mania and depression represents a further extension of the attempt to explain these disorders on the basis of an abnormality in neurotransmission. New emphasis is less on individual neurotransmitters than it is upon their interdependent relationships. The latter is best exemplified by the treatment of Parkinson's disease, which has moved from a cholinergic approach to one that makes important use of dopaminergic mechanisms. Whether or not a reverse shift, from dopaminergic towards cholinergic approaches is justified for treating schizophrenia remains doubtful. Persuasive evidence can be adduced for new approachess to treatments of mania and depression through cholinergic mechanisms. The development of centrally active cholinemimetic agents will permit the clinical testing of some of the hypotheses engendered by this revival of inquiry into the role of acetylcholine in emotional disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1865-1871
Number of pages7
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number21
StatePublished - 5 Jun 1978
Externally publishedYes


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