Evidence for a decrease in basilar dendrites of pyramidal cells in schizophrenic medial prefrontal cortex

Schizophr Res. 2002 Nov 1;58(1):75-81. doi: 10.1016/s0920-9964(02)00201-3.


A variety of lines of converging evidence implicates the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in schizophrenia. Previous neuroanatomical studies have shown schizophrenia-associated changes in neuron density, soma size and spine number. We recently demonstrated a schizophrenia-associated decrease in microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2) immunostaining in laminae III and V of medial prefrontal area 32 and interpreted that finding as suggestive of a loss of dendritic material. We now present data from medial prefrontal area 32 of 11 schizophrenics and 11 comparison subjects. In Golgi-stained material, we describe a significant decrease in the number of both primary (29%) and secondary (46%) basilar dendrites on pyramidal neurons in layer V. Similarly, in layer III there was also a decrease in both primary (17%) and secondary (15%) basilar dendrites. These findings suggest a decrease in synaptic surface area which could lead to aberrant information processing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autopsy
  • Dendrites / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / pathology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology
  • Pyramidal Cells / pathology*
  • Schizophrenia / pathology*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology
  • Silver Staining / methods