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Neuropathology. 2007 Dec;27(6):604-8.

Neuropathology of schizophrenia: a mini review.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Nagoya University, Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan. iritani@med.natoya-u.ac.jp

Abstract

The neuropathology of schizophrenia remains obscure despite the fact that many neuropathologists have investigated this area for over 100 years. While remarkable progress has been made in the neuropathological study of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, progress in studying the neuropathological entity of schizophrenia has not kept pace; the phrase "schizophrenia is the graveyard of neuropathologists" has been stated in the field. Since the 1980s, the morphological or functional abnormalities in the brains of schizophrenia patients have been reported by means of CT or MRI and with advanced functional brain image technology such as positron emission tomography or single photon emission computed tomography. Results from such imaging studies have led to neuropathological examination of the post mortem brains of schizophrenia patients being undertaken again. These neuroimaging studies have influenced the neuropathological investigation of the schizophrenic brain. Not only the classical microscopic observation of neuropathology, but also measurement and statistical analysis using computer imaging software or using immunohistological techniques has been performed. Based on the neuropathological studies of schizophrenia over the last 20 years, it is clear that schizophrenia is not a pure functional disease without organic factors. Reports of neuropathological abnormalities in the post mortem schizophrenic brain indicated they were found in almost all areas of the brain, but there are more reports describing the temporal lobe and frontal lobe compared to those describing other areas of the brain. These observed neuropathological abnormalities are explained rationally by the hypothesis of a neurodevelopmental disorder in this disease. In recent molecular biology studies, several putative candidate genes were reported, and some of these genes might have the function of neurodevelopment or making neuronal networks. It is important to consider together these findings with morphometric studies in neuropathological observation, neuroimaging studies and genome studies to pursue the etiology of schizophrenia from various perspectives.

PMID:
18021384
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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