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August 1973

An Anatomy of Schizophrenia?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Erich Lindemann Mental Health Center, Boston. Dr. Stevens was Visiting Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School (1971 to 1973) and is now with the Department of Neurology, University of Oregon School of Medicine, Portland.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;29(2):177-189. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.04200020023003

The particular value of dopamine blocking agents in the treatment of Schizophrenia, the nearly unique distribution of dopamine axons to neostriatum and limbic striatum, and the special anatomic relationship of striatum to limbic structures are considered in relation to clinical, electroencephalographic, and experimental data which suggest that preemption of consciousness by characteristic fear, sense of unreality, or heightened or distorted sexual and sensory perception in schizophrenic patients is closely linked to the physiology of the limbic system and its striatal "filter."

Anatomic and physiologic studies indicate that limbic striatum consisting of nucleus accumbens, olfactory tubercle, and nucleus of stria terminalis resembles caudate putamen not only in ultrastructure and histochemistry, but also as a recipient of efferents from limbic cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus in a pattern that remarkably parallels the projections of neocortex on neostriatum, the inputs and outputs providing the major difference.

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