Readdressing synaptic pruning theory for schizophrenia: Combination of brain imaging and cell biology

Akiko Hayashi-Takagi, Peter B. Barker, Akira Sawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Disturbance in the synapse has been suggested in the pathology of schizophrenia, especially through examination of autopsied brains from patients with the disease. Nonetheless, it has been unclear whether and how such disturbance is associated with the onset and progression of the disease in young adulthood. Some studies with magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) have suggested that overpruning of dendritic spines may occur in the prodromal and early stages of schizophrenia. In addition, our recent study indicates that DISC1, a promising risk factor for schizophrenia, has a crucial role in the maintenance of the dendritic spine in association with activation of the NMDA-type glutamate receptor. 1 Disturbance of spine maintenance can be linked to aberrant synaptic pruning during postnatal brain maturation. Biological studies with genetic models may provide us with an opportunity to validate experimentally the synaptic pruning theory for schizophrenia. An integrative strategy of brain imaging and cell biology may be a promising approach to address a key biological question for mental illnesses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-212
Number of pages2
JournalCommunicative and Integrative Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • DISC1
  • Dendritic spine
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Synaptic pruning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Readdressing synaptic pruning theory for schizophrenia: Combination of brain imaging and cell biology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this