Connectivity, pharmacology, and computation: Toward a mechanistic understanding of neural system dysfunction in schizophrenia

Alan Anticevic, Michael W. Cole, Grega Repovs, Aleksandar Savic, Naomi R. Driesen, Genevieve Yang, Youngsun T. Cho, John D. Murray, David C. Glahn, Xiao Jing Wang, John H. Krystal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Neuropsychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar illness alter the structure and function of distributed neural networks. Functional neuroimaging tools have evolved sufficiently to reliably detect system-level disturbances in neural networks. This review focuses on recent findings in schizophrenia and bipolar illness using resting-state neuroimaging, an advantageous approach for biomarker development given its ease of data collection and lack of task-based confounds. These benefits notwithstanding, neuroimaging does not yet allow the evaluation of individual neurons within local circuits, where pharmacological treatments ultimately exert their effects. This limitation constitutes an important obstacle in translating findings from animal research to humans and from healthy humans to patient populations. Integrating new neuroscientific tools may help to bridge some of these gaps. We specifically discuss two complementary approaches. The first is pharmacological manipulations in healthy volunteers, which transiently mimic some cardinal features of psychiatric conditions. We specifically focus on recent neuroimaging studies using the NMDA receptor antagonist, ketamine, to probe glutamate synaptic dysfunction associated with schizophrenia. Second, we discuss the combination of human pharmacological imaging with biophysically informed computational models developed to guide the interpretation of functional imaging studies and to inform the development of pathophysiologic hypotheses. To illustrate this approach, we review clinical investigations in addition to recent findings of how computational modeling has guided inferences drawn from our studies involving ketamine administration to healthy subjects. Thus, this review asserts that linking experimental studies in humans with computational models will advance to effort to bridge cellular, systems, and clinical neuroscience approaches to psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberArticle 169
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Issue numberDEC
StatePublished - 2013


  • Computational modeling
  • Functional connectivity
  • Glutamate
  • NMDA receptors
  • Pharmacology
  • Schizophrenia
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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