, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 335-344

Alterations of Cortical GABA Neurons and Network Oscillations in Schizophrenia

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Abstract

The hypothesis that alterations of cortical inhibitory γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurons are a central element in the pathology of schizophrenia has emerged from a series of postmortem studies. How such abnormalities may contribute to the clinical features of schizophrenia has been substantially informed by a convergence with basic neuroscience studies revealing complex details of GABA neuron function in the healthy brain. Importantly, activity of the parvalbumin-containing class of GABA neurons has been linked to the production of cortical network oscillations. Furthermore, growing knowledge supports the concept that γ band oscillations (30–80 Hz) are an essential mechanism for cortical information transmission and processing. Herein we review recent studies further indicating that inhibition from parvalbumin-positive GABA neurons is necessary to produce γ oscillations in cortical circuits; provide an update on postmortem studies documenting that deficits in the expression of glutamic acid decarboxylase67, which accounts for most GABA synthesis in the cortex, are widely observed in schizophrenia; and describe studies using novel, noninvasive approaches directly assessing potential relations between alterations in GABA, oscillations, and cognitive function in schizophrenia.