Advances in post mortem molecular neurochemistry and neuropathology: examples from schizophrenia research.
Post mortem studies of psychiatric disorders have been revitalised by several developments. Molecular biology has provided tools for studying genes and their expression in post mortem brain tissue, an approach which facilitates integration of molecular genetics with neurochemistry and neuropathology. The techniques can be used quantitatively as well as qualitatively, applications which have been aided by developments in image analysis. Accompanying these advances has been an improvement in the robustness of the data as a result of greater attention to confounding variables and other methodological improvements. These issues are illustrated by two recent areas of interest in schizophrenia research: the expression of central dopamine D4 and 5-HT receptors, and synaptic pathology.