Nature Reviews Neuroscience 11, 100-113 (February 2010) | doi:10.1038/nrn2774

Abnormal neural oscillations and synchrony in schizophrenia

Peter J. Uhlhaas1,2 & Wolf Singer1,3  About the authors


Converging evidence from electrophysiological, physiological and anatomical studies suggests that abnormalities in the synchronized oscillatory activity of neurons may have a central role in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Neural oscillations are a fundamental mechanism for the establishment of precise temporal relationships between neuronal responses that are in turn relevant for memory, perception and consciousness. In patients with schizophrenia, the synchronization of beta- and gamma-band activity is abnormal, suggesting a crucial role for dysfunctional oscillations in the generation of the cognitive deficits and other symptoms of the disorder. Dysfunctional oscillations may arise owing to anomalies in the brain's rhythm-generating networks of GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) interneurons and in cortico-cortical connections.

Author affiliations

  1. Department of Neurophysiology, Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, Deutschordenstrasse 46, Frankfurt am Main, 60528, Germany.
  2. Laboratory for Neurophysiology and Neuroimaging, Department of Psychiatry, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Heinrich-Hoffman-Strasse 10, Frankfurt am Main, 60528, Germany.
  3. Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Ruth-Moufang-Strasse 1, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Correspondence to: Peter J. Uhlhaas1,2 Email:


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