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Schizophr Bull. 2011 Jul;37(4):659-63. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbr056. Epub 2011 Jun 7.

High vs low frequency neural oscillations in schizophrenia.

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Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21228, USA.


There is growing recognition that neural oscillations are important in a wide range of perceptual and cognitive functions. One of the key issues in electrophysiological studies of schizophrenia is whether high or low frequency oscillations, or both, are related to schizophrenia because many brain functions are modulated with frequency specificities. Many recent electrophysiological studies of schizophrenia have focused on high frequency oscillations at gamma band and in general support gamma band dysfunction in schizophrenia. We discuss the concept that gamma oscillation abnormalities in schizophrenia often occur in the background of oscillation abnormalities of lower frequencies. The review discusses the basic neurobiology for the emergence of oscillations of all frequency bands in association with networks of inhibitory interneurons and the convergence and divergence of such mechanisms in generating high vs low frequency oscillations. We then review the literature of oscillatory frequency abnormalities identified in each frequency band in schizophrenia. By describing some of the key functional roles exerted by gamma, low frequencies, and their cross-frequency coupling, we conceptualize that even isolated alterations in gamma or low frequency oscillations may impact the interactions of high and low frequency bands that are involved in key cognitive functions. The review concludes that studying the full spectrum and the interaction of gamma and low frequency oscillations may be critical for deciphering the complex electrophysiological abnormalities observed in schizophrenia patients.

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