A structure-function mechanism for schizophrenia

Front Psychiatry. 2012 Dec 28;3:108. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2012.00108. eCollection 2012.


THE MULTIPLE ETIOLOGIES OF SCHIZOPHRENIA PROMPT US TO RAISE THE QUESTION: what final common pathway can induce a convincing sense of the reality of the hallucinations in this disease? The observation that artificial stimulation of an intermediate order of neurons of a normal nervous system induces hallucinations indicates that the lateral entry of activity (not resulting from canonical synaptic transmission) at intermediate neuronal orders may provide a mechanism for hallucinations. Meaningful hallucinations can be de-constructed into an organized temporal sequence of internal sensations of associatively learned items that occur in the absence of any external stimuli. We hypothesize that these hallucinations are autonomously generated by the re-activation of pathological non-specific functional LINKs formed between the postsynaptic membranes at certain neuronal orders and are examined as a final common mechanism capable of explaining most of the features of the disease. Reversible and stabilizable hemi-fusion between simultaneously activated adjacent postsynaptic membranes is viewed as one of the normal mechanisms for functional LINK formation and is dependent on lipid membrane composition. Methods of removing the proteins that may traverse the non-specifically hemi-fused membrane segments and attempts to replace the phospholipid side chains to convert the membrane composition to a near-normal state may offer therapeutic opportunities.

Keywords: hallucination; internal sensation; membrane hemi-fusion; schizophrenia; semblance hypothesis.