Innovative Treatment Approaches in Schizophrenia Enhancing Neuroplasticity: Aerobic Exercise, Erythropoetin and Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Author(s): T. Wobrock, A. Hasan, P. Falkai.

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

Volume 13 , Issue 8 , 2012

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Schizophrenia is a brain disorder associated with subtle, but replicable cerebral volume loss mostly prevalent in frontal and temporal brain regions. Post-mortem studies of the hippocampus point to a reduction of the neuropil constituting mainly of synapses associated with changes of molecules mediating plastic responses of neurons during development and learning. Derived from animal studies interventions to enhance neuroplasticity by inducing adult neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, angiogenesis and long-term potentiation (LTP) were developed and the results translated into clinical studies in schizophrenia. Out of these interventions aerobic exercise has been shown to increase hippocampal volume, elevate N-acetyl-aspartate in the hippocampus as neuronal marker, and improve short-term memory in schizophrenia. The hematopoietic growth factor erythropoetin (EPO) is involved in brain development and associated with the production and differentiation of neuronal precursor cells. A first study demonstrated a positive effect of EPO application on cognition in schizophrenia patients. In randomised controlled studies with small sample size, the efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a biological intervention focussing on the enhancement of LTP, has been shown for the improvement of positive and negative symptoms in schizophrenia,. The putative underlying neurobiological mechanisms of these interventions including the role of neurotrophic factors are outlined and implications for future research regarding neuroprotection strategies to improve schizophrenia are discussed.

Keywords: schizophrenia; neuroprotection, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), erythropoetin, exercise, endurance training, brain regions, hippocampus, synapses, animal studies, neuroplasticity, angiogenesis, long-term potentiation (LTP), hippocampus

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Article Details

Year: 2012
Page: [1595 - 1605]
Pages: 11
DOI: 10.2174/138920112800784763
Price: $65

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