Acta neuropathologica

Microvessel length density, total length, and length per neuron in five subcortical regions in schizophrenia.

PMID 19198859


Recent studies (Prabakaran et al. in Mol Psychiat 9:684-697, 2004; Hanson and Gottesman in BMC Med Genet 6:7, 2005; Harris et al. in PLoS ONE 3:e3964, 2008) have suggested that microvascular abnormalities occur in the brains of patients with schizophrenia. To assess the integrity of the microvasculature in subcortical brain regions in schizophrenia, we investigated the microvessel length density, total microvessel length, and microvessel length per neuron using design-based stereologic methods in the caudate nucleus, putamen, nucleus accumbens, mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus, and lateral nucleus of the amygdala in both hemispheres of 13 postmortem brains from male patients with schizophrenia and 13 age-matched male controls. A general linear model multivariate analysis of variance with diagnosis and hemisphere as fixed factors and illness duration (patients with schizophrenia) or age (controls), postmortem interval and fixation time as covariates showed no statistically significant differences in the brains from the patients with schizophrenia compared to the controls. These data extend our earlier findings in prefrontal cortex area 9 and anterior cingulate cortex area 24 from the same brains (Kreczmanski et al. in Acta Neuropathol 109:510-518, 2005), that alterations in microvessel length density, total length, and particularly length per neuron cannot be considered characteristic features of schizophrenia. As such, compromised brain metabolism and occurrence of oxidative stress in the brains of patients with schizophrenia are likely caused by other mechanisms such as functional disruption in the coupling of cerebral blood flow to neuronal metabolic needs.

Related Materials