Evidence for the involvement of the hippocampus in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia
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The hippocampus, a medial temporal lobe structure, is often considered to play an important role in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Recent developments of neuroimaging and molecular postmortem techniques have significantly increased our ability to study the role of discrete brain regions in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. This article describes animal models, structural, histological, molecular biology, and neuropsychological evidence for the involvement of the hippocampus in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. The major findings in schizophrenic patients are decreased volumes, hypometabolism, and cytoarchitectural abnormalities which are more robust on the left hippocampus, as well as verbal memory impairment. It is yet to be determined whether these changes are neurodevelopmental or neurodegenerative in nature. Overall, these findings indicate that there are subtle changes in the hippocampus of schizophrenic patients. More comprehensive and focused hippocampal research in schizophrenia is required to elucidate the contribution of this intriguing brain structure to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.
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