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 September 16, 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 September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
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