Our response to COVID-19

We're supporting people to maintain their wellbeing and manage isolation.

Neuronal changes

What is a neuron?

Most neurons have a cell body, an axon, and dendrites. Neurons communicate with other cells over synapses, or gaps between the neurons. Usually, axons send out signals and dendrites receive signals across the synapse, although synapses can also connect an axon to another axon or a dendrite to another dendrite. This process is partly electrical and partly chemical and can be excitatory or inhibitory. A group of connected neurons is called a neural circuit, involving sensory, motor, and interneurons.

Studies have shown grey matter reductions in people with schizophrenia, which may involve a loss of neurons and/or changes in synaptic density. This topic presents the results of studies assessing changes in neuronal structure.

What is the evidence for changes in neurons in people with schizophrenia?

Moderate to high quality evidence finds a small to medium-sized effect of decreased density of postsynaptic elements in people with schizophrenia, mainly in cortical regions and in dendritic spine density. There is also a small effect of reduced parvalbumin interneuron density in the pre-frontal cortex of people with schizophrenia.

October 2020

Last updated at: 1:35 am, 30th October 2020
To view documentation related to this topic download the files below
Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

NeuRA Libraries

Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.