Dysfunctional thalamus-related networks in schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia bulletin

PubMedID: 21307040

Pinault D. Dysfunctional thalamus-related networks in schizophrenia. Schizophr Bull. 2011;37(2):238-43.
Thalamus abnormalities are common in neurological and psychiatric illnesses. Therefore, it is essential to understand the properties of the thalamus-related networks. The thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) is a thin GABAergic layer interface strategically located between the thalamus and the neocortex. It is, at the very beginning of life, an essential neurodevelopmental guide for the accurate build up of reciprocal anatomical glutamatergic connections between the thalamus and neocortex. It is more than the mediator of selective attention. It appears as a combinatorial matrix because it holds and can combine multiple functional modalities. TRN cells work like integrators, thanks to their extraordinary intrinsic electrophysiological properties, under the contextual and leading influence of corticothalamic inputs. The TRN and thalamus principally form 2-neuron open-loop circuits (no reciprocal connection). The major functioning principle of such GABAergic-glutamatergic circuits is lateral inhibition, which is a gold standard device to set up, via differential amplifications, coherent structured thalamocortical activity patterns. Thereby, it selects relevant streams of information and deletes distractors during action, resting states, and information integration, including during consciousness, cognition, emotion, and thought. Disruption of thalamic lateral inhibition may contribute to a lack of coordination in activity between brain regions, as observed in psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia.