Synaptic dysfunction in schizophrenia

Dong Min Yin, Yong Jun Chen, Anupama Sathyamurthy, Wen Cheng Xiong, Lin Mei

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

62 Scopus citations


Schizophrenia alters basic brain processes of perception, emotion, and judgment to cause hallucinations, delusions, thought disorder, and cognitive deficits. Unlike neurodegeneration diseases that have irreversible neuronal degeneration and death, schizophrenia lacks agreeable pathological hallmarks, which makes it one of the least understood psychiatric disorders. With identification of schizophrenia susceptibility genes, recent studies have begun to shed light on underlying pathological mechanisms. Schizophrenia is believed to result from problems during neural development that lead to improper function of synaptic transmission and plasticity, and in agreement, many of the susceptibility genes encode proteins critical for neural development. Some, however, are also expressed at high levels in adult brain. Here, we will review evidence for altered neurotransmission at glutamatergic, GABAergic, dopaminergic, and cholinergic synapses in schizophrenia and discuss roles of susceptibility genes in neural development as well as in synaptic plasticity and how their malfunction may contribute to pathogenic mechanisms of schizophrenia. We propose that mouse models with precise temporal and spatial control of mutation or overexpression would be useful to delineate schizophrenia pathogenic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSynaptic Plasticity
Subtitle of host publicationDynamics, Development and Disease
EditorsMichael Kreutz, Carlo Sala
Number of pages24
StatePublished - Mar 16 2012

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598


  • Excitatory synaptic transmission
  • Inhibitory synaptic transmission
  • Neuromodulators
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizophrenia susceptibility genes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Synaptic dysfunction in schizophrenia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this