The cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia are largely resistant to current treatment and are thus a life-long burden of the illness. Studies of cognitive symptoms have commonly focused on prefrontal cortex because of its demonstrated importance for executive function and working memory--key components of the deficit. The role of striatal-cortical circuitry and therefore the striatum itself has received much less attention. Here we review longstanding evidence that the striatum and its cortical connections are critical for complex cognition and discuss emerging evidence of the striatum's potential involvement in cognitive symptoms. Finally, we suggest how mouse models might test ideas about the contribution of early striatal dysfunction to the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia.
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