Hypothesis & Theory ARTICLE

Front. Psychiatry, 28 December 2012 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2012.00108

A structure-function mechanism for schizophrenia

  • Division of Neurology, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

The multiple etiologies of schizophrenia prompt us to raise the question: what final common pathway can induce a convincing sense of the reality of the hallucinations in this disease? The observation that artificial stimulation of an intermediate order of neurons of a normal nervous system induces hallucinations indicates that the lateral entry of activity (not resulting from canonical synaptic transmission) at intermediate neuronal orders may provide a mechanism for hallucinations. Meaningful hallucinations can be de-constructed into an organized temporal sequence of internal sensations of associatively learned items that occur in the absence of any external stimuli. We hypothesize that these hallucinations are autonomously generated by the re-activation of pathological non-specific functional LINKs formed between the postsynaptic membranes at certain neuronal orders and are examined as a final common mechanism capable of explaining most of the features of the disease. Reversible and stabilizable hemi-fusion between simultaneously activated adjacent postsynaptic membranes is viewed as one of the normal mechanisms for functional LINK formation and is dependent on lipid membrane composition. Methods of removing the proteins that may traverse the non-specifically hemi-fused membrane segments and attempts to replace the phospholipid side chains to convert the membrane composition to a near-normal state may offer therapeutic opportunities.

Keywords: schizophrenia, hallucination, internal sensation, semblance hypothesis, membrane hemi-fusion

Citation: Vadakkan KI (2012) A structure-function mechanism for schizophrenia. Front. Psychiatry 3:108. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2012.00108

Received: 01 August 2012; Accepted: 01 December 2012;
Published online: 28 December 2012.

Edited by:

Pablo A. Gaspar, Hospital Clinico de la Universidad de Chile, Chile

Reviewed by:

Christopher Schmidt, Pfizer, Inc., USA
Bernhard J. Mitterauer, Volitronics-Institute for Basic Research Psychopathology and Brain Philosophy, Austria

Copyright: © 2012 Vadakkan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Kunjumon I. Vadakkan, Division of Neurology, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, GF532-820 Sherbrook Street, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3A1R9. e-mail: umvadakk@cc.umanitoba.ca