The mediodorsal thalamic nucleus and schizophrenia

The mediodorsal thalamic nucleus and schizophrenia

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J Psychiatry Neurosci 2008;33(6):489-98

Raúl Alelú-Paz, MSc; José Manuel Giménez-Amaya, MD, PhD

Departamento de Anatomía, Histología y Neurociencia, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Abstract

The mediodorsal nucleus of the human thalamus is in a crucial position that allows it to establish connections with diverse cerebral structures, particularly the prefrontal cortex. The present review examines existing neurobiologic studies of the brains of people with and without schizophrenia that indicate a possible involvement of the mediodorsal nucleus in this psychiatric disorder. Studies at synaptic and cellular levels of the neurobiology of the mediodorsal nucleus, together with a better anatomic understanding of this diencephalic structure owing to neuroimaging studies, should help to establish a more deep and solid pathophysiologic model of schizophrenia.

Résumé

Le noyau dorsomédian du thalamus humain se trouve à un endroit crucial qui lui permet d’établir des liens avec diverses structures cérébrales, et en particulier le cortex préfrontal. La présente synthèse porte sur des études neurobiologiques existantes du cerveau de personnes atteintes ou non de schizophrénie qui indiquent que le noyau médiodorsal peut jouer un rôle dans ce trouble psychiatrique. Des études aux niveaux synaptique et cellulaire portant sur la neurobiologie du noyau dorsomédian, ainsi qu’une meilleure compréhension anatomique de cette structure du diencéphale découlant d’études de neuro-imagerie, devraient aider à établir un modèle pathophysiologique plus profond et solide de la schizophrénie.


Medical subject headings: mediodorsal thalamic nucleus; schizophrenia.

Competing interests: None declared.

Submitted Aug. 5, 2007; Revised Dec. 7, 2007; Feb. 4, 2008; Accepted Feb. 5, 2008

Correspondence to: Dr. J.M. Giménez-Amaya, Departamento de Anatomía, Histología y Neurociencia, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, C/ Arzobispo Morcillo s/n. 28029 Madrid, Spain; fax 34 91 497 5338; josemanuel.gimenezamaya@uam.es

Contributors: Both Drs. Alelú-Paz and Giménez-Amaya contributed equally to the review design, data acquisition and analysis, and writing and review of the article, and both authors approved it for publication.

Acknowledgements: We wish to thank Carol Fox Warren for her help with the English version of this manuscript. We also wish to thank Dr. Silvano de las Heras and Dr. Lucía Prensa for their advice. This study has been supported by grants from the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (BFI2003-02909 and BFU2006-01189).