Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New Evidence Found for Pathways of Schizophrenia

In a search for causes of schizophrenia, Jong Yoon, M.D., of the University of California, Davis, and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine brain activity in the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia of 18 people with schizophrenia and 19 healthy controls, according to a science update from the National Institute of Mental Health. The basal ganglia include the ventral tegmental area and the substantia nigra, major sources of dopamine, as well as the striatum, an important site for the action of dopamine.

Yoon and colleagues found increased activity in the substantia nigra along with less activity in the prefrontal and striatal regions among the schizophrenia group, compared with controls. At the same time, there was less prefrontal functional connectivity with the basal ganglia regions in those with schizophrenia. Patients with greater connectivity between the substantia nigra and the striatum had higher levels of psychosis as well.

“These results suggest that functional impairments of the prefrontal striatonigral circuit may be a common pathway linking the pathogenesis of cognitive deficits and psychosis in schizophrenia,” concluded the authors, in an earlier report in Biological Psychiatry.

To read more about the neuroanatomical basis of schizophrenia, see Psychiatric News here.

(Image: CLIPAREA-Custom Media/


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