The effects of glycine on auditory mismatch negativity in schizophrenia



Publication Details

Greenwood, L., Leung, S., Michie, P. T., Green, A., Nathan, P. J., Fitzgerald, P., Johnston, P., Solowij, N., Kulkarni, J. & Croft, R. J. (2018). The effects of glycine on auditory mismatch negativity in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 191 61-69.


Glycine increases N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) mediated glutamatergic function. Mismatch negativity (MMN) is a proposed biomarker of glutamate-induced improvements in clinical symptoms, however, the effect of glycine-mediated NMDAR activation on MMN in schizophrenia is not well understood. This study aimed to determine the effects of acute and 6-week chronic glycine administration on MMN in schizophrenia patients. MMN amplitude was compared at baseline between 22 patients (schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder; receiving stable antipsychotic medication; multi-centre recruitment) and 21 age- and gender-matched controls. Patients underwent a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with glycine added to their regular antipsychotic medication (placebo, n = 10; glycine, n = 12). MMN was reassessed post-45-minutes of first dose (0.2. g/kg) and post-6-weeks treatment (incremented to 0.6. g/kg/day). Clinical symptoms were assessed at baseline and post-6-weeks treatment. At baseline, duration MMN was smaller in schizophrenia compared to controls. Acute glycine increased duration MMN (compared to placebo), whilst this difference was absent post-6-weeks treatment. Six weeks of chronic glycine administration improved PANSS-Total, PANSS-Negative and PANSS-General symptoms compared to placebo. Smaller baseline duration MMN was associated with greater PANSS-Negative symptoms and predicted (at trend level) PANSS-Negative symptom improvement post-6-weeks glycine treatment (not placebo). These findings support the benefits of chronic glycine administration and demonstrate, for the first time, that acute glycine improves duration MMN in schizophrenia. This result, together with smaller baseline duration MMN predicting greater clinical treatment response, suggests the potential for duration MMN as a biomarker of glycine-induced improvements in negative symptoms in schizophrenia.

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