Dopamine, fronto-striato-thalamic circuits and risk for psychosis

Orwa Dandash, Christos Pantelis, Alex Fornito

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


A series of parallel, integrated circuits link distinct regions of prefrontal cortex with specific nuclei of the striatum and thalamus. Dysfunction of these fronto-striato-thalamic systems is thought to play a major role in the pathogenesis of psychosis. In this review, we examine evidence from human and animal investigations that dysfunction of a specific dorsal fronto-striato-thalamic circuit, linking the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, dorsal (associative) striatum, and mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus, is apparent across different stages of psychosis, including prior to the onset of a first episode, suggesting that it represents a candidate risk biomarker. We consider how abnormalities at distinct points in the circuit may give rise to the pattern of findings seen in patient populations, and how these changes relate to disruptions in dopamine, glutamate and GABA signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-57
Number of pages10
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • fronto-striato-thalamic
  • resting-state
  • fMRI
  • dopamine
  • GABA
  • glutamate

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