Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

U Of T Researcher Links Schizophrenia, Gene Mutations

Date:
February 21, 2005
Source:
University Of Toronto
Summary:
The supersensitivity to dopamine that is characteristic of schizophrenia can be caused by mutations to a wide variety of genes, rather than alterations to just two or three specific genes, says a University of Toronto researcher.

The supersensitivity to dopamine that is characteristic of schizophrenia can be caused by mutations to a wide variety of genes, rather than alterations to just two or three specific genes, says a University of Toronto researcher.

In research published in the Feb. 15 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of Toronto pharmacology professor Philip Seeman and his 16 colleagues in eight universities show that mutations to genes that have no relation to the brain's dopamine receptors can still cause those receptors to become highly sensitive to their own dopamine, a condition that leads to psychosis.

By examining brain tissue from mice with various gene mutations, the researchers determined that the brain appears to compensate for the altered gene by becoming supersensitive to dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that allows people to move, think and feel.

"The altered genes may provoke the brain to respond and compensate, and compensation often involves the dopamine system going into high gear," says Seeman. "The brain knows about mistakes, and to protect itself, it makes sense for the compensation to re-adjust the dopamine system to preserve the functions – such as movement and thought – that the body and brain needs."

An excessively active dopamine system can trigger the hallucinations and delusions experienced in schizophrenia, amphetamine drug abuse or Alzheimer's disease. In drug abuse, the reaction is temporary; in schizophrenia, it recurs.

"This research brings together two worlds: the psychosis of drug abuse and schizophrenia," says Seeman. "There's a common denominator based on the dopamine receptor."

It also offers a new direction for research into schizophrenia.

"Vast amounts of money are being spent to look for the magical two or three genes that cause psychosis but it could be many genes – and that includes genes that have nothing to do with dopamine," said Seeman. "It was a real eye-opener to have all these different pathways factored in."

The next step, says Seeman, is to identify and explain the mechanism that causes the brain to become supersensitive to dopamine, regardless of whether it's caused by a gene mutation or by drug use.

###

The research was funded by the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health and the Dr. Karolina Jus estate.

The other universities involved in the study were McGill University, McMaster University, Emory University, Oregon Health and Science University, Duke University, University of Kuopio (Finland) and University of Washington.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University Of Toronto. "U Of T Researcher Links Schizophrenia, Gene Mutations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050218133040.htm>.
University Of Toronto. (2005, February 21). U Of T Researcher Links Schizophrenia, Gene Mutations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050218133040.htm
University Of Toronto. "U Of T Researcher Links Schizophrenia, Gene Mutations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050218133040.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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