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Reverse translation of the rodent 5C-CPT reveals that the impaired attention of people with schizophrenia is similar to scopolamine-induced deficits in mice.


Attentional dysfunction in schizophrenia (SZ) is a core deficit that contributes to multiple cognitive deficits and the resulting functional disability. However, developing procognitive therapeutics for neuropsychiatric disorders have been limited by a 'translational gap'--a lack of cognitive paradigms having cross-species translational validity and relevance. The present study was designed to perform an initial validation of the cross-species homology of the 5-choice Continuous Performance Test (5C-CPT) in healthy nonpsychiatric comparison subjects (NCS), SZ patients and mice under pharmacologic challenge. The 5C-CPT performance in SZ patients (n=20) was compared with age-matched NCS (n=23). The effects of the general muscarinic receptor antagonist scopolamine on mice (n=21) performing the 5C-CPT were also assessed. SZ subjects exhibited significantly impaired attention in the 5C-CPT, driven by reduced target detection over time and nonsignificantly increased impulsive responding. Similarly, scopolamine significantly impaired attention in mice, driven by reduced target detection and nonsignificantly increased impulsive responding. Scopolamine also negatively affected accuracy and speed of responding in mice, although these measures failed to differentiate SZ vs. NCS. Thus, mice treated with scopolamine exhibited similar impairments in vigilance as seen in SZ, although the differences between the behavioral profiles warrant further study. The availability of rodent and human versions of this paradigm provides an opportunity to: (1) investigate the neuroanatomic, neurochemical and genomic architecture of abnormalities in attention observed in clinical populations such as SZ; (2) develop and refine animal models of cognitive impairments; and (3) improve cross-species translational testing for the development of treatments for these impairments.

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