Evidence derived from both pharmacological and postmortem studies
suggests that a disturbance of brain iron metabolism is involved in the
pathophysiology of schizophrenia; i.e., the distribution of iron parallels
that of dopamine, and variations in its brain concentration selectively
modulate the binding affinity of the dopaminergic (D2) receptor. In the
present study the authors examined the staining intensity of brain iron in
postmortem specimens of 9 schizophrenic (SC) patients and 17 age-matched
controls. Coronal sections were stained with the Perls's technique,
photographed, and then studied using a computerized image analysis system.
Optical density measurements were taken from the caudate nucleus, putamen,
globus pallidus, and substantia nigra. This study revealed significant
differences between groups only for the staining intensity of iron in the
caudate nucleus (P less than 0.005). A review of the literature suggests
that this finding may be the result of neuroleptic therapy and not a
primary pathological feature of schizophrenia.