, Volume 113, Issue 3, pp 365-379

Isolation rearing or methamphetamine traumatisation induce a “dysconnection” of prefrontal efferents in gerbils: implications for schizophrenia

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Summary.

A miswiring of prefrontal efferents is generally discussed by the name of “dysconnection” as the anatomical substrate of schizophrenia. Since direct histological confirmation of this hypothesis can hardly be obtained in humans, we used an animal model of schizophrenia to trace prefrontal efferents to distal cortical fields. Mongolian gerbils were intoxicated with a single high dose of methamphetamine on postnatal day 14 and reared in isolation after weaning (day 30). Controls received a saline injection and/or were reared under enriched conditions. Upon reaching adulthood (day 90), biocytin was injected into the medial prefrontal cortex into either deep or superficial laminae. The density of passing fibres and terminal fields in the frontal, parietal and insular cortices was assessed by digital image analysis. Isolation rearing or methamphetamine treatment alone reduced the projections from lamina V/VI to the frontal and from lamina III to the insular cortex, and from both laminae to the parietal cortex. In contrast, isolation rearing of methamphetamine-intoxicated gerbils significantly increased the projections from the deep laminae to the frontal and parietal cortices, compared to isolation-reared controls, with no difference in the efferents from superficial laminae. These results are the first to demonstrate a miswiring of prefrontal efferents in response to adverse systemic influences. They might give a hint at the anatomical basis of “dysconnection” in schizophrenia.