In contrast to current animal studies that rely on drugs that can only mimic the manifestations of schizophrenia, such as delusions, mood changes and paranoia, this new mouse is based on a genetic change relevant to the disease. Thus, this mouse should greatly help with understanding disease progression and developing new therapies.
Animal models of schizophrenia have been hard to design since many different causes underlie this disease. However, Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and neuroscience and director of the program in molecular psychiatry and his colleagues took advantage of the recent discovery of a major risk factor for this disease: the DISC1 gene (short for disrupted in schizophrenia), which makes a protein that helps nerve cells assume their proper positions in the brain.
As reported online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers generated mice that make an incomplete, shortened form of the DISC1 protein in addition to the regular type. The short form of the protein attaches to the full-length one, disrupting its normal duties.
As these mice matured, they became more agitated when placed in an open field, had trouble finding hidden food, and did not swim as long as regular mice; such behaviors parallel the hyperactivity, smell defects and apathy observed in schizophrenia patients. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), taken in collaboration with Susumu Mori, Ph.D., professor of radiology, also revealed characteristic defects in brain structure, including enlarged lateral ventricles, a region that circulates the spinal fluid and helps protect against physical trauma.
Sawa notes that the defects in these mice were not as severe as those typically seen in people with schizophrenia, because more than one gene is required to trigger the clinical disease. “However, this mouse model will help us fill many gaps in schizophrenia research,” he says. “We can use them to explore how external factors like stress or viruses may worsen symptoms. The animals can also be bred with other strains of genetically engineered mice to try to pinpoint additional schizophrenia genes.”
The research was funded by the United States Public Health Service, Neurogenetics and Behavior Center, NARSAD, The Stanley Mental Research Institute, and the S & R Foundation
Authors on the paper are Takatoshi Hikida, Hanna Jaaro-Peled, Saurav Seshadri, Kenichi Oishi, Caroline Hookway, Stephanie Kong, Di Wu, Rong Xue, Manuella Andradé, Stephanie Tankou, Susumu Mori, Michela Gallagher, Koko Ishizuka and Akira Sawa of Hopkins, and Mikhail Pletnikov and Satoshi Kida of the Tokyo University of Agriculture.
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences