Impaired recruitment of the hippocampus during conscious recollection in schizophrenia

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Abstract

Poor attention and impaired memory are enduring and core features of schizophrenia. These impairments have been attributed either to global cortical dysfunction or to perturbations of specific components associated with the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), hippocampus and cerebellum. Here, we used positron emission tomography (PET) to dissociate activations in DLPFC and hippocampus during verbal episodic memory retrieval. We found reduced hippocampal activation during conscious recollection of studied words, but robust activation of the DLPFC during the effort to retrieve poorly encoded material in schizophrenic patients. This finding provides the first evidence of hippocampal dysfunction during episodic memory retrieval in schizophrenia.

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Figure 1: PET statistical map comparing the contrast (high recall minus low recall) between control subjects and schizophrenic patients.
Figure 2: Hippocampal rCBF during the three test conditions.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Dmitry Berdichevsky, Zakhar Levin, Avis Loring, Steve Weise, Ed Amico and Dana Ruther for technical support. This study was supported by a Dupont-Warren Fellowship (S.H.), a Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (S.L.R.) and NIMH grants R01MH57915 (D.L.S.) and MH01215 (S.L.R.).

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Correspondence to Stephan Heckers.

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