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Brain Res. 1998 Apr 13;789(2):293-306.

Methylazoxymethanol acetate-induced abnormalities in the entorhinal cortex of the rat; parallels with morphological findings in schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Groningen, P.O. box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, Netherlands.


It has been suggested repeatedly that the non-heritable factors in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia involve abnormalities of prenatal neurodevelopment. Furthermore, post-mortem studies show neuropathology of apparently developmental origin in the entorhinal cortex and other brain regions of schizophrenic subjects. In an attempt to model a developmental defect of the entorhinal region in the rat, cerebrocortical proliferation was briefly interrupted during its earliest stages, when the entorhinal area is thought to undergo major cell division. Specifically, the experimental set-up involved the administration of methylazoxymethanol acetate (MAM) on 1 of 4 consecutive days of embryonal development, from E9 to E12. Analysis of the forebrain in adult animals shows reduction of the entorhinal cortex in rats treated on each of these days. This effect shifts from lateral to medial divisions of the entorhinal cortex with later administration of MAM, following a known developmental gradient. Morphological consequences of MAM administration appear to be largely confined to the entorhinal cortex in the groups treated on E9 to E11, although slight reductions of the frontal and occipital neocortex were also observed in these animals. MAM treatment on E12 produces relatively more widespread damage, as reflected among other in a small reduction of brain weight. The described brain abnormalities are not accompanied by obvious phenotypical changes in any, but the E12-treated group. They, moreover, involve cortical thinning, disorganised cortical layering, and abnormal temporal asymmetries. These finding bare some similarity to observations in brains of schizophrenic subjects. The possible relevance of this approach in modeling neurodevelopmental aspects of schizophrenia is discussed.

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