Abnormal neural synchrony in schizophrenia

Spencer KM, Nestor PG, Niznikiewicz MA, Salisbury DF, Shenton ME, McCarley RW

J. Neurosci. 2003 Aug;23(19):7407-11

PMID: 12917376


Schizophrenia has been conceptualized as a failure of cognitive integration, and abnormalities in neural circuitry (particularly inhibitory interneurons) have been proposed as a basis for this disorder. We used measures of phase locking and phase coherence in the scalp-recorded electroencephalogram to examine the synchronization of neural circuits in schizophrenia. Compared with matched control subjects, schizophrenia patients demonstrated: (1) absence of the posterior component of the early visual gamma band response to Gestalt stimuli; (2) abnormalities in the topography, latency, and frequency of the anterior component of this response; (3) delayed onset of phase coherence changes; and (4) the pattern of anterior-posterior coherence increases in response to Gestalt stimuli found in controls was replaced by a pattern of interhemispheric coherence decreases in patients. These findings support the hypothesis that schizophrenia is associated with impaired neural circuitry demonstrated as a failure of gamma band synchronization, especially in the 40 Hz range.