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Trends Neurosci. 2016 Sep;39(9):587-596. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2016.06.005. Epub 2016 Jul 29.

Social Preference and Glutamatergic Dysfunction: Underappreciated Prerequisites for Social Dysfunction in Schizophrenia.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Veterans Affairs Desert Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Electronic address: jungheelee@ucla.edu.
2
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Veterans Affairs Desert Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Abstract

Impaired social functioning is pervasive in schizophrenia. Unfortunately, existing treatments have limited efficacy, and possible psychological or neurobiological mechanisms underlying social dysfunction in this disorder remain obscure. Here, we evaluate whether social preference, one key aspect of social processing that has been largely overlooked in schizophrenia research, and N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) dysfunction can provide insights into the mechanism underlying social dysfunction in schizophrenia. Based on evidence from developmental psychology, and behavioral and clinical neuroscience, we propose a heuristic model in which reduced NMDAR function may induce disrupted social preference that can subsequently lead to social cognitive impairment and social disability. We discuss its implications in terms of the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, other disorders with marked social disability, and potential treatments.

KEYWORDS:

NMDAR hypofunction; schizophrenia; social functioning; social preference

PMID:
27477199
PMCID:
PMC5951176
DOI:
10.1016/j.tins.2016.06.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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