The neurosteroid pregnenolone and its sulfated derivative enhance learning and memory in rodents. Pregnenolone sulfate also positively modulates NMDA receptors and could thus ameliorate hypothesized NMDA receptor hypofunction in schizophrenia. Furthermore, clozapine increases pregnenolone in rodent hippocampus, possibly contributing to its superior efficacy. We therefore investigated adjunctive pregnenolone for cognitive and negative symptoms in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder receiving stable doses of second-generation antipsychotics in a pilot randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial.
Marx CE, Keefe RSE, Buchanan RW, Hamer RM, Kilts JD, Bradford DW, Strauss JL, Naylor JC, Payne VM, Lieberman JA, Savitz AJ, Leimone LA, Dunn L, Porcu P, Morrow AL, Shampine LJ. Proof-of-Concept Trial with the neurosteroid pregnenolone targeting cognitive and negative symptoms in schizophrenia. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2009; 34(8): 1885-1903.