The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology

Special Section

Oligodendroglial abnormalities in schizophrenia, mood disorders and substance abuse. Comorbidity, shared traits, or molecular phenocopies?

Boris P. Sokolov a1c1
a1 Molecular Neuropsychiatry Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH, DHHS, Baltimore, MD, USA

Article author query
sokolov bp   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The evidence implicating oligodendroglia in major mental disorders has grown significantly in the past few years. Microarray analysis revealed altered expression of oligodendroglia-related genes in multiple brain regions from several, clinically diverse groups of subjects with schizophrenia (SZ) as well as subjects with bipolar disorder (BD) and major depressive disorders (MDD), alcoholics and cocaine users. In line with gene expression findings, evidence for ultrastructural changes in white matter and altered oligodendroglia in these disorders were reported in neuroimaging and neuropathological studies. Changes in oligodendroglia-related genes reported in SZ, BD and MDD appear to display considerable similarities (particularly decreased expression of MAG, ERBB, TF, PLP1, MOG, MOBP, MOG), while changes in cocaine abuse and alcoholism are more diverse. Common oligodendroglial abnormalities might indicate aetiological or pathophysiological overlaps between different disorders. The possible mechanisms of oligodendroglial abnormalities may involve functional variations in oligodendroglia-related genes, epigenetic regulation of chromatin, DA system hyperactivity and other mechanisms.

(Received June 6 2006)
(Reviewed July 5 2006)
(Revised September 11 2006)
(Accepted September 13 2006)

Key Words: Drug abuse; epigenetic; glia; microarray; psychiatric disorders.

c1 Molecular Neuropsychiatry Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH, 5500 Nathan Shock Dr, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA. Tel.: (410) 550-1582 Fax: (410) 550-2745, E-mail: