September 01, 2004

Mice Gene Defects Offer Insight into SZ

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology

A team of researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati are studying genetically engineered mice that display abnormal social behavior, including running from their littermates. Researchers claim the behavior comes from defects in two genes, called NPAS1 and NPAS2. Similar mutations exist in a Canadian family with a history of schizophrenia.

These key genes code for transcription factors (proteins that control the production of certain chemicals) found in inhibitory interneuron brain cells. The ultimate chemicals they affect are unknown at this time.

The mice brains were found to be deficient in a protein called reelin, which plays a role in early brain development and brain cell signaling. Post-mortem studies of some people with schizophrenia have also shown low levels of reelin in the brain.

For the full article, see "Psychotic Mice May Aid Study of Disease - Report" (Aug 30 2004) at


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