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July 1987

An Analysis of the Arrangement of Neurons in the Cingulate Cortex of Schizophrenic Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry (Dr Benes) and Neurology (Dr Bird), Harvard Medical School and Mailman Research Center, Boston; and McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass (Drs Benes and Bird).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987;44(7):608-616. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800190024004

• A series of computer-assisted stereomorphometric analyses of the spatial arrangements of neurons and glia in postmortem cerebral cortex specimens has been developed and applied to both control subjects and schizophrenic patients. The data suggest that the anterior cingulate cortex of schizophrenic patients may contain domains or aggregates of neurons, particularly in layer II, which are smaller in size and separated by wider distances than those observed in the control group. Verification of the inferences made from the computer-generated data has been obtained by direct microscopic visualization and measurement of neuronal aggregates of layer II in Nissl-stained cingulate specimens from the control and schizophrenic groups. Statistical correction of the data, using multivariate statistics, for effects of age, hypoxia, postmortem interval, fixation, and neuroleptic exposure does not eliminate the differences in size and separation of neuronal aggregates in layer II of schizophrenic patients. The possible relevance of these findings to our understanding of schizophrenic symptomatology is discussed.