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Issue: Issue 1 (2014)


Review Article

Schizophrenia: implications of vitamin D deficit on brain development

Author(s):
Ana Dias Amaral, Conceição Calhau, and Rui Coelho
Abstract:
Background: Schizophrenia is one of the most disabling psychiatric disorders, with serious consequences on families and society. Although a genetic component in its aetiology is indisputable, environmental factors also play an important role. Vitamin D (VD) has been implicated in central nervous system development and some evidence points to its role on schizophrenia aetiology. We aim to summarize brain alterations occurring in schizophrenia and how VD is relevant to them.

Methods: Literature review up to 30th September 2014, using MeSH terms schizophrenia, vitamin D, brain, and central nervous system.

Results: We summarize alterations occurring at anatomical and histological levels. Moreover, we describe biological pathways in which VD is involved that are proven to be disrupted in schizophrenia: neurotrophic factors, neurotransmission, synaptic and cytoskeleton anomalies, calcium homeostasis, energy metabolism and redox balance. Finally, we give some emphasis to cognitive disturbances.

Conclusion: The heterogeneity of some studies does not allow to definitely affirm that VD deficit plays a role on schizophrenia aetiology. Studies on different populations and animal models should be conducted in order to achieve reproducible results. Therefore, this paper should be regarded as a guide to the pathways and anatomical structures disrupted by VD deficit in schizophrenia, and warrant further investigation. Although we cannot definitely affirm that VD deficiency is essential for schizophrenia aetiology, literature currently points to this hypothesis.


Keywords: Central nervous system, Psychotic disorders, Schizophrenia, Vitamin D.

International Journal of Clinical Neurosciences and Mental Health 2014; 1:16

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