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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?


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


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


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


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

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