Dysplasticity, metaplasticity, and schizophrenia: Implications for risk, illness, and novel interventions

Dev Psychopathol. 2015 May;27(2):615-35. doi: 10.1017/S095457941500019X.


In this paper, we review the history of the concept of neuroplasticity as it relates to the understanding of neuropsychiatric disorders, using schizophrenia as a case in point. We briefly review the myriad meanings of the term neuroplasticity, and its neuroscientific basis. We then review the evidence for aberrant neuroplasticity and metaplasticity associated with schizophrenia as well as the risk for developing this illness, and discuss the implications of such understanding for prevention and therapeutic interventions. We argue that the failure and/or altered timing of plasticity of critical brain circuits might underlie cognitive and deficit symptoms, and may also lead to aberrant plastic reorganization in other circuits, leading to affective dysregulation and eventually psychosis. This "dysplastic" model of schizophrenia can suggest testable etiology and treatment-relevant questions for the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Psychotic Disorders / etiology
  • Psychotic Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / etiology
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology