Epidemiological studies have shown increased incidence of schizophrenia in patients subjected to different forms of pre- or perinatal stress. However, as the onset of schizophrenic illness does not usually occur until adolescence or early adulthood, it is not yet fully understood how disruption of early brain development may ultimately lead to malfunction years later. In order to elucidate a possible role for neurodevelopmental factors in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and to highlight potential new treatments, animal models are needed. Prepulse inhibition (PPI) is a model of sensorimotor gating mechanisms in the brain. It is disrupted in schizophrenia patients and the disruption can be reversed with atypical antipsychotics. It has been widely used in animal studies to explore central mechanisms possibly involved in schizophrenia. There has been a recent surge of behavioural and neurochemical animal studies on neurodevelopmental models, particularly on the effects of postweaning isolation, maternal separation and neonatal lesions of the hippocampus. In these models, long lasting alterations in behaviour and / or molecular changes in specific brain regions are observed, comparable to those seen in schizophrenia. The aim of this article is to critically review the available literature on such neurodevelopmental animal models with special focus on the effects on PPI and brain regions that are putatively involved in regulation of PPI.
Keywords: neurodevelopmental, schizophrenia, prepulse inhibition, sensorimotor gating mechanisms
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport