Cell proliferation is reduced in the hippocampus in schizophrenia

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2016 May;50(5):473-80. doi: 10.1177/0004867415589793. Epub 2015 Jun 25.


Objective: The molecular and cellular basis of structural and functional abnormalities of the hippocampus found in schizophrenia is currently unclear. Postnatal neurogenesis contributes to hippocampal function in animal models and is correlated with hippocampal volume in primates. Reduced hippocampal cell proliferation has been previously reported in schizophrenia, which may contribute to hippocampal dysfunction.

Method: We measured the cell proliferation marker, Ki67, in post-mortem hippocampal tissue from patients with schizophrenia (n = 10) and matched controls (n = 16). Ki67-labelled cells were counted within the dentate gyrus and hilus on sections taken from the anterior hippocampus.

Results: We replicated the finding of a significant reduction in Ki67+ cells/mm² in schizophrenia cases compared to controls (t24 = 2.1, p = 0.023). In our relatively small sample, we did not find a relationship between Ki67+ cells and age overall, or between Ki67 + cells and duration of illness or antipsychotic treatment in people with schizophrenia.

Conclusion: Our results confirm that reduced hippocampal cell proliferation may be present in schizophrenia. Restoring hippocampal neurogenesis may be a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of hippocampal dysfunction in schizophrenia.

Keywords: Ki67; Neurogenesis; hippocampus; proliferation; schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Dentate Gyrus / metabolism
  • Dentate Gyrus / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism
  • Schizophrenia / pathology*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Young Adult


  • Ki-67 Antigen