A working knowledge of the normal structure and function of the nervous system is key to understanding psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia. This slide deck presents an introduction to neuroanatomy, the key components of neurosynaptic transmission, neurotransmitters and the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Last, it includes a discussion of some underlying causes of schizophrenia, such as genetic and environmental factors.

This slide deck has been developed in collaboration with the former Lundbeck International Neuroscience Foundation.

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Schizophrenia - Neurobiology and Aetiology - slide 1
Neurobiology and Aetiology

This presentation covers aetiology of Schizophrenia.

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Introduction to neuroanatomy

Schizophrenia - Neurobiology and Aetiology - slide 2
Introduction to neuroanatomy
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Organisation of the nervous system
To understand psychiatric disorders, it is important to have a working understanding of the normal structure and function of the nervous system. The central nervous system (CNS; brain, spinal cord) and peripheral nervous system (PNS) are made up of neurones and glial cell…
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Schizophrenia - Neurobiology and Aetiology - slide 4
Neurones
The neurone constitutes the functional unit of the nervous system; there are over 100 billion neurones in the brain.[Purves et al., 2008; Martin, 2003; Kandel et al., 2000] Each neurone has the ability to interact with and influence many other cells, which creates a syste…
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Schizophrenia - Neurobiology and Aetiology - slide 5
Anatomical regions of the brain
The brain is divided into four anatomical regions: the diencephalon, brainstem, cerebrum, and cerebellum, as described on the slide.[Kandel et al., 2000; Tortora & Derrickson, 2009] References: Kandel ER, Schwartz JH, Jessell TM (eds). Principles of Neural Science. 4th …
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Schizophrenia - Neurobiology and Aetiology - slide 6
Cerebrum
The cerebral cortex is the main functional unit of the cerebrum.[Tortora & Derrickson, 2009] The three main functional areas of the cerebral cortex are:[Tortora & Derrickson, 2009; Prise & Wilson, 2003]
  • motor areas that control voluntary movement (primary, secondary, …
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Schizophrenia - Neurobiology and Aetiology - slide 7
Lobes of the brain
The brain can be thought of as comprising five ‘lobes’ – the four lobes of the cerebral cortex and a fifth lobe, the insula, deep within the brain, as shown on the slide.[Martin, 2003; Tortora & Derrickson, 2009; Price & Wilson, 2003] The lobes of the cerebral cortex are …
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Neurosynaptic transmission

Schizophrenia - Neurobiology and Aetiology - slide 8
Neurosynaptic transmission
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Neurotransmission
Information moves through the nervous system via two integrated forms of communication – electrical neurotransmission and chemical neurotransmission, as shown on the slide.[Kandel et al., 2000] An action potential is generated at the origin of the axon following sufficien…
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Schizophrenia - Neurobiology and Aetiology - slide 10
The synapse
Neurones do not physically touch one another; two neurones are separated by a gap, known as a synaptic cleft.[Kandel et al., 2000] Because neurones do not touch, and an action potential cannot ‘jump’ across a synaptic cleft, the signal must be converted to a chemical sign…
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Schizophrenia - Neurobiology and Aetiology - slide 11
Process of chemical neurotransmission
The idea that neurotransmission occurs at synapses and is mediated by chemicals was, at first, a contentious issue.[Purves et al., 2008] It was in the first half of the 1900s that experiments proved chemical neurotransmission occurred.[Purves et al., 2008] The process is …
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