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Prefrontal cortex and schizophrenia

Aygün Ertuğrul, Murat Rezaki.

Deficits in working memory, a prefrontal function, is accepted as one
of the core endophenotypes of schizophrenia. Negative symptoms
are also thought to be caused by dysfunction of prefrontal cortex
(PFC). Functions of PFC and alterations in PFC in schizophrenia should
be studied to better understand the pathophysiology of
schizophrenia. The aim of this review is to assess the changes in PFC
of schizophrenic patients and discuss their relationship with the
disease process.
Literature was reviewed retrospectively and the relevant studies within
the last 10 years were included. For this purpose Pubmed search
engine and ?schizophrenia, prefrontal cortex? key words were used.
Neuroimaging studies show hypofrontality in patients compared to
controls, especially during working memory tasks which need
activation of PFC. Negative symptoms are also found to be correlated
with hypofrontality. There are cellular abnormalities which point out
synaptic dysfunctions in PFC of schizophrenic patients. Dopaminergic
modulation of PFC is found to be impaired, and deficits in GABAergic
inhibitory system and alterations in molecules critical for NMDA
receptor function are detected.
Data show that there are structural and functional changes in PFC of
schizophrenic patients. Although it is early to reach a definite
conclusion, these changes seem to be caused by a
neurodevelopmental pathology.

Key words: Dopamine, working memory, schizophrenia, prefrontal cortex

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American Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health


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