While no one really knows what causes the GAD67 abnormalities - they might be due to variants in the gene for GAD67, problems with gene expression, or both - the ultimate cause may not really matter, says Lewis, since drugs might be able to regulate neuronal activity by targeting these downstream problems directly.

His lab has discovered that GAD67 abnormalities affect only a subset of neurons: those that produce parvalbumin and somatostatin.2 Of note, these cells are also involved in certain types of brain oscillations, characterized by the simultaneous firing of thousands of neurons at specific frequencies. Parvalbumin neurons are involved in gamma oscillations (50 Hz), which are implicated in working memory, whereas somatostatin neurons participate in theta oscillations (4-8 Hz), which are thought to be involved in memory, navigation, and in the coupling of sensory information with motor output.

Lewis believes that disturbances in GABA neuron transmission...

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