Mouse Model of Schizophrenia Could Speed Identification of New Antipsychotic Drugs
July 1, 2003 | Source: KurzweilAI
Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have produced a genetically altered mouse that exhibits behavioral abnormalities strikingly similar to those observed in humans with schizophrenia and have identified a genetic variant associated with schizophrenia in humans.
According to the researchers, the findings could mean they have identified a molecular signaling pathway — the calcineurin pathway in the forebrain — involved in the origin of schizophrenia. If so, the search for drugs affecting that pathway could yield a new class of antipsychotic drugs that more precisely and effectively treat the disorder.
The researchers published their findings June 30 in two articles in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
In their latest studies, Tonegawa and his colleagues built on their earlier research on a genetically engineered mouse, which had been specifically altered to knock out the gene for the enzyme calcineurin only in the animal’s forebrain. Calcineurin is an enzymatic switch that plays regulatory roles in both the immune system and the brain.