Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Errant Stem Cells May Account For Symptoms Of Schizophrenia

Date:
March 19, 2002
Source:
University Of Illinois At Chicago
Summary:
Neural stem cells are a ready supply of new parts for the constant wiring and rewiring of the brain's circuitry as this complex organ responds to environmental stimuli so that we can learn new skills, interpret new data and rethink old ideas. But if those cells can't migrate to the right place and morph into the right kinds of neural links, our cognitive and psychological functions fail.

Neural stem cells are a ready supply of new parts for the constant wiring and rewiring of the brain's circuitry as this complex organ responds to environmental stimuli so that we can learn new skills, interpret new data and rethink old ideas.

But if those cells can't migrate to the right place and morph into the right kinds of neural links, our cognitive and psychological functions fail.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have found that a protein called reelin, whose function in the adult brain has long been a mystery, is responsible for directing the migration of neural stem cells to the appropriate location in the brain as it adapts to new information. The results of the study are published in the March 19 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Neural stem cells are the precursors to the variety of cell types found in the brain," said Kiminobu Sugaya, assistant professor of psychiatry and the study's principal investigator. "Triggered by unknown environmental cues or factors, they migrate to specific areas to become a glial cell or a neuron, forming a link in the adult brain's complex neural network."

In the study, human neural stem cells were transplanted into an empty space of the brain, called the ventricle, in normal mice and in mice incapable of producing reelin (called "reeler" mice because of their peculiar gait, a result of their genetic defect).

"In the reeler mice, the stem cells got lost," Sugaya said. "They failed to migrate."

In the normal mice, however, the cells migrated into the hippocampus, the central processing unit of the brain; the olfactory lobes, controlling the sense of smell; and the cerebral cortex, responsible for higher mental activities like learning, memory, perception and problem solving. Once located in those regions, the cells turned into mature cells capable of functioning in the new environs.

"In normal mice we found a beautiful, symmetrical migration and differentiation of the stem cells," Sugaya said.

The findings are significant not only because they clearly identify, for the first time, the role of reelin in the adult brain, but also because they suggest one possible molecular mechanism underlying schizophrenia, a devastating psychiatric illness characterized by a distorted perception of reality, disordered thinking and a flat affect.

In an earlier postmortem study of the brains of schizophrenics, Erminio Costa, a co-author of the present study and scientific director of UIC's Psychiatric Institute, found that the level of reelin was half that in normal human brains. Moreover, in a blind study of 60 brains taken postmortem from individuals diagnosed with severe psychiatric disorders, Costa was able to correctly identify those that came from psychotic patients by testing for levels of reelin.

"Perhaps in schizophrenics, who lack reelin, the brain's stem cells can't find their way to make the appropriate neural connections," said Kiminobu Sugaya, "As a result, perception and thinking may break down."

###Other co-authors of the present study were UIC researchers Hojoong Kim, Tingyu Qu, Virginia Kriho, Pascale Lacor, Neil Smalheiser, George Pappas and Alessandro Guidotti.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. Copies of the paper are available online at http://www.PNAS.org/cgi/content/abstract/062698299v1, with movies illustrating the migration of cells in both normal and reeler mice.

For more information on UIC, visit http://www.uic.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Chicago. "Errant Stem Cells May Account For Symptoms Of Schizophrenia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020319075419.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Chicago. (2002, March 19). Errant Stem Cells May Account For Symptoms Of Schizophrenia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020319075419.htm
University Of Illinois At Chicago. "Errant Stem Cells May Account For Symptoms Of Schizophrenia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020319075419.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins