Prepulse facilitation and prepulse inhibition in schizophrenia patients and their unaffected siblings

Jonathan K. Wynn, Michael E. Dawson, Anne M. Schell, Mark McGee, Dustin Salveson, Michael F. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background Deficits in schizophrenia patients and their first-degree relatives have been reported in prepulse inhibition (PPI), a phenomenon that measures an early stage of information processing (sensorimotor gating). It is less clear whether these information processing deficits extend to prepulse facilitation (PPF), which measures a later stage of generalized alerting or orienting. Methods This study examined three separate issues: first, whether schizophrenia patients have deficits in PPI and PPF; second, whether the siblings of patients show deficits in these processes; and third, whether prepulse duration influences the degree of the deficits. These issues were examined in 76 schizophrenia patients, 36 of their siblings, and 41 normal control subjects. Results Patients and siblings did not differ from control subjects in PPI, perhaps due to the use of different procedural parameters compared with other laboratories that have consistently found PPI deficits in schizophrenia patients. Patients and their siblings produced significantly less PPF than control subjects. For both PPI and PPF, prepulse duration was not a significant factor. Conclusions These results imply that PPF deficits reveal a generalized alerting or orienting deficit that is present in both schizophrenia patients and their siblings, suggesting that this deficit may be tapping an endophenotypic vulnerability factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-523
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Grant Nos. MH-46433 (MED) and MH-43292 (MFG) and by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Integrated Services Network 22 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center. JKW was supported by a National Institute of Mental Health National Research Service Award Training Grant No. MH14584 (principal investigator: Keith H. Nuechterlein) during preparation of this article. We thank Bill Troyer for technical assistance and programming.


  • Endophenotypic marker
  • Orienting
  • Prepulse facilitation
  • Prepulse inhibition
  • Schizophrenia
  • Startle


Dive into the research topics of 'Prepulse facilitation and prepulse inhibition in schizophrenia patients and their unaffected siblings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this