A gene strongly associated with schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders regulates the birth of new neurons in the adult brain, according to new research. linkurl:The study,;http://www.cell.com/fulltext/S0092-8674(09)00021-X published in Cell this week, supports a controversial theory linking diseases such as schizophrenia and depression to neurogenesis and provides new targets for the treatment of psychiatric conditions.
Image: flicker/linkurl:Staurland;http://www.flickr.com/photos/staurland3
"This is the first time anybody has ever shown that this protein [coded by the gene] directly regulates the number of neural progenitors," said linkurl:Li-Huei Tsai,;http://web.mit.edu/picower/faculty/tsai.html main author and neuroscientist at the Picower Institute of Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Previous studies have linked schizophrenia to disturbances in neurogenesis in a brain region called the hippocampus and suggested that anti-depressant medications such as Prozac work by stimulating hippocampal neurogenesis. The new findings link the gene, DISC1, to a well-studied signaling pathway that controls neurogenesis and the development of the...

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