Convergence and Divergence in the Etiology of Myelin Impairment in Psychiatric Disorders and Drug Addiction

Yue Feng
October 2008
Neurochemical Research;Oct2008, Vol. 33 Issue 10, p1940
Academic Journal
Abstract  Impairment of oligodendroglia (OL)-dependent myelination in the central nervous system (CNS) is a remarkable parallel recently identified in major psychiatric disorders and chronic drug abuse. Neuroimaging and neuropathological studies revealed myelin defects and microarray-profiling analysis demonstrated aberrant expression of myelin-related genes in schizophrenia (SZ), bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD) and cocaine addiction. However, the etiology underlying myelin impairment in these clinically distinct subjects remains elusive. This article reviews myelin impairment in line with dopaminergic dysfunction, a prime neuropathophysiological trait shared in psychiatric disorders and drug abuse, as well as the genetic and epigenetic alterations associated with these diseases. The current findings support the hypothesis that aberrant dopamine (DA) action on OLs is a common pathologic mechanism for myelin impairment in the aforementioned mental morbidities, whereas inherited genetic variations that specifically affect OL development and myelinogenesis may further increase myelin vulnerability in psychiatric disorders. Importantly, OL defect is not only a pathological consequence but also a causative factor for dopaminergic dysfunction. Hence, myelin impairment is a key factor in the pathogenic loop of psychiatric diseases and drug addiction.


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