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Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2002 Jun;5(2):159-79.

The GABAergic system in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Department of Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Department of Neuroscience, New York 10032, USA.


A defect in neurotransmission involving gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) in schizophrenia was first proposed in the early 1970s. Since that time, a considerable effort has been made to find such a defect in components of the GABAergic system. After a brief introduction focusing on historical perspectives, this paper reviews post-mortem and other biological studies examining the following components of the GABAergic system in schizophrenic subjects: the GABA biosynthetic enzyme, glutamate decarboxylase; free GABA; the GABA transporter; the GABAA, GABAB and benzodiazepine receptors; and the catabolic enzyme GABA transaminase. Additionally, post-mortem studies using morphology or calcium-binding protein to identify GABAergic neurons are also reviewed. Substantial evidence argues for a defect in the GABAergic system of the frontal cortex in schizophrenia which is limited to the parvalbumin-class of GABAergic interneurons.

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