Searching for causes of neural disconnection in schizophrenia

Philadelphia, 6 July, 2010 – Dendritic spines act as hubs for communication between nerve cells. Reductions in spines may contribute to a lack of coordination in activity between brain regions. This structural abnormality is particularly relevant in schizophrenia, where pyramidal neurons located in layer 3, the principal cell type receiving communication from other brain regions, have fewer dendritic spines.

Studying this phenomenon further, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh now provide new insights into the dendritic spine deficits in schizophrenia. Drs. Masayuki Ide and David Lewis studied postmortem brain tissue of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia and compared it to tissue from healthy individuals.

They found that the expression levels of two gene products, CDC42EP3 and septin 7, were higher and lower, respectively, in tissue from those with schizophrenia. CDC42EP3 and septin 7 play important roles in regulating spine plasticity. Since CDC42EP3 is preferentially expressed in layer 3, the findings suggest that the altered expression of these transcripts may contribute to the layer-specific deficits in dendritic spines associated with schizophrenia.

“We still have a long way to go to fully understand the neurobiology of schizophrenia. An important step in this process will be to begin to learn what we can about neural structure and chemistry from postmortem brain tissue from individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia,” commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. “These studies may help, ultimately, to develop new treatments that attempt to prevent or reverse these disturbances in brain structure associated with schizophrenia.”

Dr. Lewis agreed, remarking that “These findings provide a potential basis for novel treatments for schizophrenia, and for preemptive interventions for individuals who are at high risk for the illness.”

Notes to Editors:

The article is “Altered Cortical CDC42 Signaling Pathways in Schizophrenia: Implications for Dendritic Spine Deficits” by Masayuki Ide and David A. Lewis. The authors are affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. The article appears in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 68, Issue 1 (July 1, 2010), published by Elsevier.

The authors’ disclosures of financial and conflicts of interests are available in the article.

John H. Krystal, M.D. is Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine and a research psychiatrist at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. His disclosures of financial and conflicts of interests are available at http://journals.elsevierhealth.com/webfiles/images/journals/bps/Biological_Psychiatry_Editorial_Disclosures_08_01_09.pdf.

Full text of the article mentioned above is available upon request. Contact Maureen Hunter at [email protected] to obtain a copy or to schedule an interview.

About Biological Psychiatry

This international rapid-publication journal is the official journal of the Society of Biological Psychiatry. It covers a broad range of topics in psychiatric neuroscience and therapeutics. Both basic and clinical contributions are encouraged from all disciplines and research areas relevant to the pathophysiology and treatment of major neuropsychiatric disorders. Full-length and Brief Reports of novel results, Commentaries, Case Studies of unusual significance, and Correspondence and Comments judged to be of high impact to the field are published, particularly those addressing genetic and environmental risk factors, neural circuitry and neurochemistry, and important new therapeutic approaches. Concise Reviews and Editorials that focus on topics of current research and interest are also published rapidly.

Biological Psychiatry (www.sobp.org/journal) is ranked 4th out of the 101 Psychiatry titles and 14th out of 219 Neurosciences titles on the 2008 ISI Journal Citations Reports® published by Thomson Scientific.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including the Lancet (www.thelancet.com) and Cell (www.cell.com), and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier’s online solutions include ScienceDirect (www.sciencedirect.com), Scopus (www.scopus.com), Reaxys (www.reaxys.com), MD Consult (www.mdconsult.com) and Nursing Consult (www.nursingconsult.com), which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite (www.scival.com) and MEDai’s Pinpoint Review (www.medai.com), which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier (www.elsevier.com) employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC (www.reedelsevier.com), a world-leading publisher and information provider. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).


Substack subscription form sign up
The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.