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Neuroscience

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Neurobiology of Disease: NMDA Receptors in Schizophrenia

NEURO-KJBBCD

Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disease affecting up to 1% of the population. Psychosis, or disconnection from reality, is a central feature of schizophrenia, and resultant psychotic behavior maybe especially dangerous to patients themselves and those around them. It was noted early on that ketamine, an NMDA receptor inhibitor, produces a psychotic state nearly indistinguishable from what is seen in schizophrenia patients.

Where and how are NMDA receptors most likely to act abnormally in schizophrenia?

A

Abnormal hypofunction of NMDA receptors in the developing cerebellum causes excessive apoptotic cell death of newly born cerebellar granule neurons.

B

Excessive signaling via NMDA receptors in the striatum drives synaptic pruning mechanism to a harmful level.

C

Hypofunction of NMDA receptors in the frontotemporal cortex leads to reduced number of synapses and consequently reduced connectivity with other brain regions.

D

Excessive activity of NMDA receptors in the hippocampus causes excitotoxicity and cell death.