- Dendritic spines act as hubs for communication between nerve cells. Reductions in spines may contribute to a lack of coordination in activity between brain regions. This structural abnormality is particularly relevant in schizophrenia, where pyramidal neurons located in layer 3, the principal cell type receiving communication from other brain regions, have fewer dendritic spines.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by poor emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction. Diagnosis is based on observed behavior and the patient's reported experiences.