The thalamic reticular nucleus: a functional hub for thalamocortical network dysfunction in schizophrenia and a target for drug discovery

Judith A Pratt, Brian J Morris

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The thalamus (comprising many distinct nuclei) plays a key role in facilitating sensory discrimination and cognitive processes through connections with the cortex. Impaired thalamocortical processing has long been considered to be involved in schizophrenia. In this review we focus on the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) providing evidence for it being an important communication hub between the thalamus and cortex and how it may play a key role in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. We first highlight the functional neuroanatomy, neurotransmitter localisation and physiology of the TRN. We then present evidence of the physiological roles of the TRN in relation to oscillatory activity, cognition and behaviour. Next we discuss the role of the TRN in rodent models of risk factors for schizophrenia (genetic and pharmacological) and provide evidence for TRN deficits in schizophrenia. Finally we discuss new drug targets for schizophrenia in relation to restoring TRN circuitry dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-137
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jan 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jan 2015


  • thalamic reticular nucleus
  • thalamocortical network
  • schizophrenia
  • drug discovery

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