By: Mo Costandi | Stem cells from schizophrenics produce fewer neurons | Neuroscience | The Guardian
New research shows that a genetic mutation associated with schizophrenia alters the process of cellular differentiation, disturbing the balance of neurons and glia in the brain
Stem cells obtained from patients with schizophrenia carry a genetic mutation that alters the ratio of the different type of nerve cells they produce, according to a new study by researchers in Japan. The findings, published today in the journal Translational Psychiatry, suggest that abnormal neural differentiation may contribute to the disease, such that fewer neurons and more non-neuronal cells are generated during the earliest stages of brain development.
Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental illness that affects about 1 in 100 people. It is known to be highly heritable, but is genetically complex: so far, researchers have identified over 100 rare genetic variations and dozens of mutations associated with increased risk of developing the disease.