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The platelet window: examining receptor regulated second messenger processes in psychosis and depression

  • M Berk (a1) and G S Malhi (a2)


Peripheral markers of psychiatric illness provide a potentially important window into the pathophysiology of a number of psychiatric illnesses. Direct access to pathophysiological processes is fraught with difficulty. However, receptor-regulated second messenger-mediated calcium shifts are an accessible and practical method by which to examine changes in a clinical population. This is possible because platelets and neurons share some physiological features. The platelet intracellular calcium response to receptor stimulation has previously been used as a peripheral marker of psychiatric illness across a range of neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine and glutamate. This review considers the specificity and selectivity of this response and its use in psychotic and mood disorders.


Corresponding author

Professor Michael Berk, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Swanston Center, PO Box 281, Geelong, Victoria, 3220, Australia. Tel. + 61 35226 7410; Fax: + 61 352267436; E-mail:


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