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Schizophrenia Research and Treatment
Volume 2011, Article ID 325789, 13 pages
Research Article

Ultrastructural Alterations of Myelinated Fibers and Oligodendrocytes in the Prefrontal Cortex in Schizophrenia: A Postmortem Morphometric Study

Laboratory of Clinical Neuropathology, Mental Health Research Center, Zagorodnoe shosse 2, Moscow 117152, Russia

Received 15 January 2011; Revised 7 April 2011; Accepted 24 April 2011

Academic Editor: Haiyun Xu

Copyright © 2011 Natalya A. Uranova et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Schizophrenia is believed to result from altered neuronal connectivity and impaired myelination. However, there are few direct evidence for myelin abnormalities in schizophrenia. We performed electron microscopic study of myelinated fibers and oligodendrocytes and morphometric study of myelinated fibers in the prefrontal cortex in gray and white matters in schizophrenia and normal controls. Six types of abnormal fibers and ultrastructural alterations of oligodendrocytes were found in schizophrenia. No significant group differences in area density of myelinated fibers were found. Frequency of pathological fibers was increased significantly in gray matter in young and elderly schizophrenia patients and in patients with predominantly positive symptoms. In contrast, in white matter, frequency of altered fibers was increased significantly in elderly patients, in patients with predominantly negative symptoms, and correlated with illness duration. Progressive alterations of myelinated fibers in white matter might be followed by alterations of myelinated fibers in gray matter in schizophrenia.