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Keywords:

  • neuroanatomy;
  • neurochemistry;
  • psychiatric disorders;
  • striatum;
  • substantia nigra;
  • tyrosine hydroxylase

J. Neurochem. (2010) 113, 287–302.

Abstract

Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness that affects 1% of the world population. The disease usually manifests itself in early adulthood with hallucinations, delusions, cognitive and emotional disturbances and disorganized thought and behavior. Dopamine was the first neurotransmitter to be implicated in the disease, and though no longer the only suspect in schizophrenia pathophysiology, it obviously plays an important role. The basal ganglia are the site of most of the dopamine neurons in the brain and the target of anti-psychotic drugs. In this review, we will start with an overview of basal ganglia anatomy emphasizing dopamine circuitry. Then, we will review the major deficits in dopamine function in schizophrenia, emphasizing the role of excessive dopamine in the basal ganglia and the link to psychosis.