An Autopsy Case of Disorganized Type of Schizophrenia: Dopamine Neurons in the Ventral Tegmental Area

The pathophysiology of schizophrenia has been linked to the mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system. Using tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunohistochemistry, we show DA-containing neuronal structures in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of an autopsy case of disorganised form of schizophrenia (75-year-old female). To investigate a wide range of architectures of TH-immunoreactive (-ir) neurons, researchers used a free floating approach with 50-m cryostat sections and the three-dimensional imaging analyzer AvioVision. When compared to a control postmortem case with no obvious neurological or mental illnesses, TH-ir neuronal cell bodies in the present instance varied in shape and size, and TH-ir neuronal processes had variable thickness, straightened shape, or curved shape with numerous corners (64 year-old male). In the VTA of drug-naive schizophrenia, the mean volume of nerve cells is reduced. The mechanisms driving the morphological properties of DA neurons in schizophrenia brains should be investigated further, both epigenetically and genetically.

Author(S) Details

Keiko Ikemoto
Department of Psychiatry, Iwaki City Medical Center, Iwaki, Japan.

Tatsuro Oda
Department of Psychiatry, National Hospital Organization Shimofusa Psychiatric Medical Center, Chiba, Japan.

Akiyoshi Nishimura
Department of Forensic Medicine, Health Bioscience Institute, Tokushima University Graduate School, Tokushima, Japan.

Katsuji Nishi
Department of Legal Medicine, Shiga University of Medical Science, Otsu, Japan.

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