Peripheral benzodiazepine (BDZ) receptors were investigated by means of the binding of the specific ligand (3)H-PK 11195 to platelet membranes in patients suffering from bipolar disorder and in healthy controls. The results showed that the density (Bmax) of peripheral BDZ receptors was significantly higher in patients than in control subjects, with no change in the dissociation constant. No correlation with demographic or clinical features was observed. These findings would suggest that alterations of peripheral BDZ receptors are present in patients suffering from bipolar disorder, but it is premature to conclude whether they may be related to the pathophysiology of the disorder, or are secondary to changes occurring in other systems, such as those regulating the stress response.
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