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Detail

Ana Weidenauer
Dr.med.univ. & scient.med. Ana Weidenauer

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (Division of General Psychiatry)
Position: Doctor-in-training

ORCID: 0000-0003-1210-7617
T +43 1 40400 38370
ana.weidenauer@meduniwien.ac.at

Keywords

Amphetamine; Dopamine; Fatty Acids, Omega-3; Ketamine; Positron-Emission Tomography; Schizophrenia

Research interests

Our group focuses on investigating dopaminergic changes underlying schizophrenia and psychotic disorders. It is known that patients with schizophrenia have an overly active dopamine system and show behavioral supersensitivity to amphetamine. Furthermore, we are interested in how cortical structures influence the regulation of the dopamine system and how dopamine synthesis and release are related. In our next project we will investigate the impact of Poly-unsatturated Fatty Acids on amphetamine-induced dopamine release in patients with schizophrenia, in individuals with an increased risk for schizophrenia and in healthy controls next to their cognitive abilities and brain activation during cognitive tasks. Our next project will focus on treating negative and depressive symptoms in patients with schizophrenia with the NDMA-receptor antagonist ketamine, which is known for its rapid antidepressant effects but has been mainly used in patients with depression excluding patients with a history of psychosis. 

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

By using Positron Emission Tomography and the dopamine receptor D2/3 radioligand [11C]-(+)-PHNO we calculate amphetamine-induced dopamine release in healthy subjects and in patients with schizophrenia. Furthermore by structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging we will measure structural properties of cortical regions and brain activation during different tasks. 

Grants

  • Ketamine for the treatment of negative and depressive symptoms in schizophrenia (2021)
    Source of Funding: FWF (Austrian Science Fund), KLIF
    Coordinator of the collaborative project
  • Disentangling pre- and postsynaptic aspects of sensitization to amphetamine: a combined [18F]FDOPA / [11C]-(+)-PHNO PET study (2016)
    Source of Funding: OeNB (Oesterreichische Nationalbank), Anniversary Fund
    Principal Investigator

Selected publications

  1. Weidenauer, A. et al., 2016. Making Sense of: Sensitization in Schizophrenia. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 20(1), pp.1-10. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijnp/pyw081.
  2. Sauerzopf, U. et al., 2016. Are reprogrammed cells a useful tool for studying dopamine dysfunction in psychotic disorders? A review of the current evidence P. Bolam, ed. European Journal of Neuroscience, 45(1), pp.45-57. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejn.13418.
  3. Weidenauer, A. et al., 2020. On the relationship of first-episode psychosis to the amphetamine-sensitized state: a dopamine D2/3 receptor agonist radioligand study. Translational Psychiatry, 10(1). Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-019-0681-5.
  4. Komorowski, A. et al., 2020. Association of dopamine D2/3 receptor binding potential measured using PET and [11C]-(+)-PHNO with post-mortem DRD2/3 gene expression in the human brain. NeuroImage, 223, p.117270. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117270.
  5. Baldinger-Melich, P. et al., 2017. Case Report. The Journal of ECT, 33(1), pp.e2–e3. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/YCT.0000000000000363.