Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research builds on genetic link to autism and schizophrenia

Date:
February 25, 2010
Source:
University of Leeds
Summary:
A genetic link between schizophrenia and autism is enabling researchers to study the effectiveness of drugs used to treat both illnesses.

A genetic link between schizophrenia and autism is enabling researchers to study the effectiveness of drugs used to treat both illnesses.

Dr Steve Clapcote from the University of Leeds's Faculty of Biological Sciences will be analysing behaviour displayed by mice with a genetic mutation linked to schizophrenia and autism and seeing how antipsychotic drugs affect their behavioural abnormalities.

"We don't fully understand how the drugs used to treat schizophrenia and some symptoms of autism work," explained Dr Clapcote. "If we can show they can affect mice with this particular genetic mutation, then it gives us a clue to better understand the illnesses and opens up the possibility of more targeted treatments with fewer side effects."

A number of autism and schizophrenia patients have been found to have mutations of neurexin 1a, a protein which helps to form and maintain nerve signals in the brain. Scientists in the USA recently discovered that mice with the same genetic mutation display behavioural abnormalities which are consistent with schizophrenia and autism.

Dr Clapcote is planning to build on these initial findings to provide further evidence for a genetic link to the conditions. He also aims to assess the impact on the mice of antipsychotic drugs used to treat schizophrenia and some symptoms of autism.

"The genetic studies so far are suggesting a common cause for both schizophrenia and autism, which is something our studies will help to establish," said Dr Clapcote. "However, these illnesses are complex, involving not only inheritance, but other factors such as environment and experience. It's possible the genetic mutation might create a predisposition, making people more likely to develop autism or schizophrenia."

The mice will be run through a series of tests designed to assess behaviour related to autism and/or schizophrenia: hyperactivity, sensitivity to psychostimulants, attention levels, memory, social interaction and learning. Dr Clapcote will also look at verbal communication -- using bat recorders to 'listen' to the interaction between the mice which takes place beyond the range of human hearing.

"Behaviour is the final output of the nervous system and the means by which autism and schizophrenia are diagnosed, which is why our research focuses on behaviour," said Dr Clapcote. "Schizophrenia and autism patients both display lower levels of verbal communication and we hope to see this mirrored in the mice we're working with."

The two-year project has been funded by a 250,000 grant from the Medical Research Council. If the research proves successful, Dr Clapcote plans to investigate a proposed link between neurexin 1a and nicotine dependence, as a possible explanation for why a large percentage of schizophrenia patients become dependent on tobacco.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "Research builds on genetic link to autism and schizophrenia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224133717.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2010, February 25). Research builds on genetic link to autism and schizophrenia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224133717.htm
University of Leeds. "Research builds on genetic link to autism and schizophrenia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224133717.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. 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