Scientists unravel mechanisms that lead to ventricular enlargement in schizophrenia

Scientists unravel mechanisms that lead to ventricular enlargement in schizophrenia

Enlarged cerebral ventricles are found in 80% of individuals with schizophrenia, yet the mechanisms that lead to ventricular enlargement are mostly unknown. Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have found that two microRNAs play a critical role in a mechanism that results in ventricular enlargement in a type of mouse model. The results were reported today in Nature Communications . Deletion of a region on chromosome 22 (22q11.2-deletion syndrome) increases the risk of developing schizophrenia approximately 30-fold in humans. 22q11-deletion syndrome can be replicated in mice, creating a research model with scientific significance for studying schizophrenia. Researchers have previously observed ventricular enlargement in individuals with 22q11-deletion syndrome and in mouse models. The researchers wanted to find out what drives ventricular enlargement in models of 22q11-deletion syndrome. They were interested in the motile cilia, structures that line the ventricle walls and help cerebral spinal fluid circulate. Schizophrenia itself is polygenic; there is no single gene that can explain all of the symptoms of this complex disease. But the 22q11-deletion syndrome model gives us an opportunity to identify the gene that contributes to ventricular enlargement." Stanislav Zakharenko, M.D., Ph.D., senior author, St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology Related Stories



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