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Schizophrenia Research and Treatment
Volume 2011, Article ID 826976, 16 pages
Review Article

White Matter Abnormalities and Animal Models Examining a Putative Role of Altered White Matter in Schizophrenia

1Department of Anatomy, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA
2Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3T 2N2

Received 20 March 2011; Accepted 21 June 2011

Academic Editor: M. E. Shenton

Copyright © 2011 Haiyun Xu and Xin-Min Li. 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 a severe mental disorder affecting about 1% of the population worldwide. Although the dopamine (DA) hypothesis is still keeping a dominant position in schizophrenia research, new advances have been emerging in recent years, which suggest the implication of white matter abnormalities in schizophrenia. In this paper, we will briefly review some of recent human studies showing white matter abnormalities in schizophrenic brains and altered oligodendrocyte-(OL-) and myelin-related genes in patients with schizophrenia and will consider abnormal behaviors reported in patients with white matter diseases. Following these, we will selectively introduce some animal models examining a putative role of white matter abnormalities in schizophrenia. The emphasis will be put on the cuprizone (CPZ) model. CPZ-fed mice show demyelination and OLs loss, display schizophrenia-related behaviors, and have higher DA levels in the prefrontal cortex. These features suggest that the CPZ model is a novel animal model of schizophrenia.