Myelination of parvalbumin interneurons: a parsimonious locus of pathophysiological convergence in schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a debilitating psychiatric disorder characterized by positive, negative and cognitive symptoms. Despite more than a century of research, the neurobiological mechanism underlying schizophrenia remains elusive. White matter abnormalities and interneuron dysfunction are the most widely replicated cellular neuropathological alterations in patients with schizophrenia. However, a unifying model incorporating these findings has not yet been established. Here, we propose that myelination of fast-spiking parvalbumin (PV) interneurons could be an important locus of pathophysiological convergence in schizophrenia. Myelination of interneurons has been demonstrated across a wide diversity of brain regions and appears highly specific for the PV interneuron subclass. Given the critical influence of fast-spiking PV interneurons for mediating oscillations in the gamma frequency range (~30-120 Hz), PV myelination is well positioned to optimize action potential fidelity and metabolic homeostasis. We discuss this hypothesis with consideration of data from human postmortem studies, in vivo brain imaging and electrophysiology, and molecular genetics, as well as fundamental and translational studies in rodent models. Together, the parvalbumin interneuron myelination hypothesis provides a falsifiable model for guiding future studies of schizophrenia pathophysiology.