The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology

Special Section

Introduction to the Special Section: Myelin and oligodendrocyte abnormalities in schizophrenia

Vahram Haroutunian a1c1 and Kenneth L. Davis a1
a1 Department of Psychiatry, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY, USA

Article author query
haroutunian v   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
davis kl   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


A central tenet of modern views of the neurobiology of schizophrenia is that the symptoms of schizophrenia arise from a failure of adequate communication between different brain regions and disruption of the circuitry that underlies behaviour and perception. Historically this disconnectivity syndrome has been approached from a neurotransmitter-based perspective. However, efficient communication between brain circuits is also contingent on saltatory signal propagation and salubrious myelination of axons. The papers in this Special Section examine the neuroanatomical and molecular biological evidence for abnormal myelination and oligodendroglial function in schizophrenia through studies of post-mortem brain tissue and animal model systems. The picture that emerges from the studies described suggests that although schizophrenia is not characterized by gross abnormalities of white matter such as those evident in multiple sclerosis, it does involve a profound dysregulation of myelin-associated gene expression, reductions in oligodendrocyte numbers, and marked abnormalities in the ultrastructure of myelin sheaths.

(Received October 9 2006)
(Reviewed October 18 2006)
(Revised October 20 2006)
(Accepted November 12 2006)

Key Words: Gene expression; microarray; neuroanatomy; neuropathology; post-mortem; schizophrenia.

c1 Psychiatry, Room 4F-33A, Bronx VA Medical Center, 130 West Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, NY 10468, USA. Tel.: 718-584-9000-6082 Fax: 718-365-9622 E-mail: