Researchers Uncover Action of Genetic Defect in Schizophrenic Mice

Over a decade ago, it was found that a certain genetic abnormality had about a thirty percent chance of predicting the development of schizophrenia in humans. Since this discovery, researchers have been working on further studies surrounding the mutation and its relationship to one of psychology’s least-understood health concerns. Recently, a breakthrough has developed in this line of study, produced by the same doctor credited with the original discovery and a team of researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center.

The findings show that the mutation affects communication between the hippocampus and the pre-frontal cortex, key areas of the brain responsible for, among other things, enabling the working memory to function. The research was carried out with mice, some of which were engineered to exhibit the genetic mutation identified in the earlier study. The mice were then put through a maze that required them to remember the direction from which they had come in order to successfully exit. Those mice with the mutation were found to have significantly hampered or altogether absent communication between the hippocampus and the pre-frontal cortex.

Researchers have noted that investigations of individual mice found that the more disrupted the communication between these brain regions (as measured by recordings of neural activity), the poorer the performance, a correlation that clearly demonstrates a relationship. A difficulty in using or lack of ability to use the working memory in humans is a trait commonly associated with the manifestation of schizophrenia, and can play a major role in an individual’s ability to enjoy life within the context of society. The work may help researchers and clinical practitioners better understand the causes of schizophrenia, and earlier detection may also prove possible as a result.

© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Betty


    April 2nd, 2010 at 9:04 AM

    What a breakthrough this could prove to be for those who suffer from schizophrenia. Could there also be a possible link to the same disorder or type of disorder causing Alzheimer’s in patients?

  • John Lee LMHC

    John Lee LMHC

    April 2nd, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    That is very true..people with Schizophrenia have a certain DNA marker that other people do not have. Researchers are also looking at identifying a DNA marker for people who suffer Major Depression and PTSD.

  • erica B.

    erica B.

    April 2nd, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    Schizophrenia has been something that has been quite mysterious even to the best of medical professionals and this latest development will,hopefully,be able to tell us more about the disorder and thereby benefit the many many people suffering by it.

  • rick


    April 3rd, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    For the so many people whose lives have been negatively affected by this cruel disease this is something to give them hope that it does not have to happen to others in the future. I am always so encouraged when I read of studies and research like this because I know that in the end it is going to provide so many wonderful things to so many deserving people all across the world. This si what real research should be about- pursuing meaningful topics that have a real direction and promise for future generations to come.

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