Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Could schizophrenia arise from a single defect?

17.02.2005


Researchers have long puzzled over the apparently multiple causes of complex developmental disorders such as schizophrenia. Individuals seem to be predisposed to the disease by a tragic, mysterious combination of genetics, prenatal trauma, viral infection, and early experience. And its array of symptoms--including hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and antisocial behavior--has defied simple explanation.



In experiments with rats, however, researchers led by led by Gerard J.M. Martens of the Nijmegen Center for Molecular Life Sciences (NCMLS) have demonstrated that such seemingly diverse combinations of symptoms can arise from a subtle imbalance in the activity of a single gene whose protein plays a key role in neural development.

The researchers studied the genetic differences between rats bred to be either resistant or susceptible to the drug apomorphine. A long history of studies has revealed that apomorphine-susceptible rats show many behavioral and biochemical differences from normal rats. What’s more, the tendency to develop these differences depends on their exposure to stress in early life.


To search for genetic differences between the two types of rats, the researchers used microarrays, or so-called "gene chips," to analyze the activity of thousands of genes in the rats’ brains. To their surprise, they discovered only a single genetic difference between the two groups of rats. The levels of activity of a gene called Aph-1b tended to be lower in the susceptible rats than in the non-susceptible rats. Importantly, this gene produces a protein that is a component of an enzyme called g-secretase, which plays a role in regulating many processes in the developing brain. The researchers found that, as a result of this lower level of Aph-1b protein, g-secretase showed reduced activity in the brains of the susceptible rats.

What’s more, when the researchers tested various behaviors of "sublines" of rats with different levels of Aph-1b, they found that their behaviors correlated with those levels--termed a "gene dosage effect."

"Thus, a subtle imbalance in the expression of a single gene product that is involved in a wide variety of developmental signaling pathways may well constitute the molecular basis of a complex phenotype that is generally believed to have a multifactorial background," concluded the scientists.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cell.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex

nachricht New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>