All three major psychiatric disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (BP) and major depressive disorder (MDD) affect brain cytoarchitecture. Along with numerous histopathological signals of neuronal malfunction (e.g. reduction in neuronal size, dendritic length and dendritic spines density), these diseases also affect glial cells. There are some indications for loss of astrocytes and GFAP expression in schizophrenia, BP and MDD. In BP and MDD, significant decreases in the numbers and volume of astroglial cells were detected in prefrontal and orbital cortex. It is important to note that none of these psychiatric disorders were considered previously to be associated with reactive gliosis and glial proliferation. Schizophrenia also results in a decrease in the number of oligodendrocytes and reduction in myelin in cortical areas. The consequences of astroglial loss may be multifactorial, as they can include diminished synaptic support, altered clearance of neurotransmitters and impaired axonal conduction. Nonetheless, glial malfunction can indeed trigger a widespread discoordination of synaptic transmission and therefore be a key pathological step in the development of psychiatric diseases. Hitherto this remains pure speculation, yet this speculation definitely warrants further scrutiny.
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Bipolar is a condition that wreaks havoc on those that it affects. If you suffer from Bipolar, chances are that your family suffers right with you. No matter if you are that family member trying to learn to cope or you are the person that has been diagnosed, there is hope out there.