Are hallucinations due to an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory influences on the brain?

Renaud Jardri*, Kenneth Hugdahl, Matthew Hughes, Jérme Brunelin, Flavie Waters, Ben Alderson-Day, Dave Smailes, Philipp Sterzer, Philip R. Corlett, Pantelis Leptourgos, Martin Debbané, Arnaud Cachia, Sophie Denève

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This review from the International Consortium on Hallucinations Research intends to question the pertinence of the excitatory-to-inhibitory (E/I) imbalance hypothesis as a model for hallucinations. A large number of studies suggest that subtle impairments of the E/I balance are involved in neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia. Emerging evidence also points to a role of the E/I balance in maintaining stable perceptual representations, suggesting it may be a plausible model for hallucinations. In support, hallucinations have been linked to inhibitory deficits as shown with impairment of gamma-aminobutyric acid transmission, N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor plasticity, reductions in gamma-frequency oscillations, hyperactivity in sensory cortices, and cognitive inhibition deficits. However, the mechanisms by which E/I dysfunctions at the cellular level might relate to clinical symptoms and cognitive deficits remain unclear. Given recent data advances in the field of clinical neuroscience, it is now possible to conduct a synthesis of available data specifically related to hallucinations. These findings are integrated with the latest computational frameworks of hallucinations, and recommendations for future research are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1124-1134
Number of pages11
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Volume42
Issue number5
Early online date3 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016

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