NYSCF Innovator Sheds Light on Genetic Risk for SchizophreniaNews
NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Kristen Brennand, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, used advanced stem cell technology to support the hypothesis that a certain subset of schizophrenia patients are genetically set on a path to develop the disease before birth.
Published in Cell Reports, the researchers took skin samples from patients with schizophrenia and reprogrammed these cells into stem cells, then turned these stem cells into cells resembling fetal schizophrenic brain cells. The researchers then demonstrated that these brain cells under-expressed an important group of molecules, called microRNA-9s, that is important for the growth and maturation of brain cells in the fetal brain. This under-expression means that neural pathways may never develop properly.
Schizophrenic patients rarely display symptoms before early adulthood, making the cellular origins of the disease difficult to dissect. This research suggests that a subset of schizophrenia patients with extreme microRNA-9s under-expression were already at risk for developing schizophrenia during prenatal development before birth.
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