Decreased Oligodendrocyte Number in Hippocampal Subfield CA4 in Schizophrenia: A Replication Study

Andrea Schmitt, Laura Tatsch, Alisa Vollhardt, Thomas Schneider-Axmann, Florian J. Raabe, Lukas Roell, Helmut Heinsen, Patrick R. Hof, Peter Falkai, Christoph Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Hippocampus-related cognitive deficits in working and verbal memory are frequent in schizophrenia, and hippocampal volume loss, particularly in the cornu ammonis (CA) subregions, was shown by magnetic resonance imaging studies. However, the underlying cellular alterations remain elusive. By using unbiased design-based stereology, we reported a reduction in oligodendrocyte number in CA4 in schizophrenia and of granular neurons in the dentate gyrus (DG). Here, we aimed to replicate these findings in an independent sample. We used a stereological approach to investigate the numbers and densities of neurons, oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes in CA4 and of granular neurons in the DG of left and right hemispheres in 11 brains from men with schizophrenia and 11 brains from age- and sex-matched healthy controls. In schizophrenia, a decreased number and density of oligodendrocytes was detected in the left and right CA4, whereas mean volumes of CA4 and the DG and the numbers and density of neurons, astrocytes, and granular neurons were not different in patients and controls, even after adjustment of variables because of positive correlations with postmortem interval and age. Our results replicate the previously described decrease in oligodendrocytes bilaterally in CA4 in schizophrenia and point to a deficit in oligodendrocyte maturation or a loss of mature oligodendrocytes. These changes result in impaired myelination and neuronal decoupling, both of which are linked to altered functional connectivity and subsequent cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3242
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • CA4
  • dentate gyrus
  • hippocampus
  • neuron
  • oligodendrocyte
  • postmortem
  • schizophrenia
  • stereology


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