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Acta Neuropathol. 2005 May;109(5):510-8. Epub 2005 May 10.

Stereological studies of capillary length density in the frontal cortex of schizophrenics.

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Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Division of Cellular Neuroscience, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


The presence of microvasculature abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex of schizophrenics was proposed in a recent study of molecular signatures of schizophrenia [Prabakaran et al (2004) Mol Psychiat 9:684-697]. To assess this possibility further, we investigated capillary length densities in prefrontal cortex area 9 and anterior cingulate cortex area 24 in postmortem brains from 13 schizophrenics and 13 age- and sex-matched controls. To check that our sample of brains shared cardinal neuropathological features of schizophrenia with previously reported case studies, we also measured cortical gray matter volumes and cortical thickness in areas 9 and 24. The mean cortical gray matter volume was significantly reduced in brains from schizophrenics compared to controls. Mean cortical thickness was significantly reduced in area 24, but not in area 9, in schizophrenics. There were no differences in mean capillary length densities in either area 9 or 24 between the two groups. Thus, alterations in capillary length density in the prefrontal cortex cannot be considered a general feature of schizophrenia. Compromised brain metabolism and occurrence of oxidative stress in the brain of schizophrenics are likely caused by other mechanisms.

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