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Vol. 40, No. 1, 1999
Issue release date: July 1999
Neuropsychobiology 1999;40:21–32

Schizophrenia – A Disturbance of Signal Interaction between the Entorhinal Cortex and the Dentate Gyrus? The Contribution of Experimental Dibenamine Psychosis to the Pathogenesis of Schizophrenia: A Hypothesis

Arnold O.H.
Universitäts-Klinik für Psychiatrie, Wien, Österreich

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In addition to the existence of complex memory (similar to the implicit nondeclarative memory of Squire), the existence of a phylogenetically old apparatus of a memory of situations (SMA) is supposed, which is to some extent comparable with the declarative memory of Squire. During actual sensory information the SMA generates a general frame and forms a general ‘mark’, indicating whether a given information has its origin inside or outside the body, and whether it is new or known. The procedure of this marking process can be explained as the time-depending arrest of a copy of the actual original information-transporting signal ‘shower’; this copy must last until the feedback from thalamocortical centers indicates the termination of the processing of the original signal showers. The arrest of the shower copies is the performance of neuronal networks of the entorhinal cortex (EC) and the gyrus dentatus (GD). The psychopathological and biochemical analyses of experimental dibenamine psychosis show a different effect of dibenamine on the noradrenaline (NA) receptors of the EC and GD, respectively: these effects are responsible for the repeated perception cycles of a single situation. N,N-Dibencylamine blocks the postsynaptic α1-receptors of the EC without influencing the β-receptors of the GD. Thus the interaction between EC and GD is changed: instead of new scenes, perceptions that have just been experienced get repeated presence and the quality of familiarity. The prolonged arrest of shower copies simultaneously blocks the entrance of new signal showers from the EC to the GD. No information-transporting signal showers can come in as long as the arrest lasts. In case of a disturbance in NA-dependent actions within the EC and the GD, the duration of arrest of information-transporting signal showers is shortened. Thus the formal frame of experience receives the quality of novelty instead of familiarity, and in addition the qualities of uncertainty, vagueness, and alienity. These very changes in perception and experience represent the basic disturbance of schizophrenia. All the symptoms of schizophrenia may be explained by this basic disturbance. The analysis of biochemical aspects turns attention to the energetic situation of NA and N-methly-d-aspartate systems. These considerations suggest a genetic background of the basic disturbance of schizophrenia: transmitter effects on membranes of neurons and possibly also on glial cells, and energy supply of these effects may be predetermined genetically. It may be assumed that the compensation of such membrane-dependent disturbances will be possible within wide areas of the neural network, except for the ‘bottleneck’ of the overlapping region of the iso- and allocortex.

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