A central tenet of modern views of the neurobiology of schizophrenia is that the symptoms of schizophrenia arise from a failure of adequate communication between different brain regions and disruption of the circuitry that underlies behaviour and perception. Historically this disconnectivity syndrome has been approached from a neurotransmitter-based perspective. However, efficient communication between brain circuits is also contingent on saltatory signal propagation and salubrious myelination of axons. The papers in this Special Section examine the neuroanatomical and molecular biological evidence for abnormal myelination and oligodendroglial function in schizophrenia through studies of post-mortem brain tissue and animal model systems. The picture that emerges from the studies described suggests that although schizophrenia is not characterized by gross abnormalities of white matter such as those evident in multiple sclerosis, it does involve a profound dysregulation of myelin-associated gene expression, reductions in oligodendrocyte numbers, and marked abnormalities in the ultrastructure of myelin sheaths.
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