Evaluation of superior vermal purkinje cell placement in mental illness

Casey E. Helmkamp, Llewellyn B. Bigelow, José D. Paltán-Ortiz, E. Fuller Torrey, Joel E. Kleinman, Mary M. Herman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: A number of neuroimaging and neuropathological studies have reported abnormalities in the cerebellar vermis in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In an effort to further understand vermal abnormalities in mental illness, we have analyzed ectopic placement of Purkinje-like cells. Methods: The superior cerebellar vermis was evaluated in 39 cases of severe mental illness [schizophrenia (n = 12), bipolar disease (n = 12), and depression (n = 15)]. We also examined 9 subjects with polysubstance abuse and 15 normal controls. All normally placed Purkinje cells and displaced Purkinje-like cells (i.e., in the internal granule layer and intrafoliar white matter) were counted in the same foliar field. The ratio of displaced Purkinjelike cells to total Purkinje cells and Purkinje cell density were calculated. Results: No significant difference in the ratio of displaced to normally placed Purkinje cells or in Purkinje cell density between groups of subjects was found. Conclusions: Our study does not support a hypothesis of abnormalities of Purkinje cell migration or other events related to their displacement as a basis for the vermal abnormalities reported previously in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1370-1375
Number of pages6
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcoholism
  • Bipolar illness
  • Cerebellar vermis
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Purkinje cells
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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