Nov 2, 2022

Solving the Dopamine Riddle: Scientists Pinpoint Genetic Mechanism Linking Brain Chemical to Schizophrenia

Posted by in categories: chemistry, genetics, neuroscience

Researchers examining post-mortem brains confirm a long-held hypothesis explaining neurotransmitter’s connection to a debilitating disorder.

How does the brain chemical dopamine relate to schizophrenia? It is a question that vexed scientists for more than 70 years, and now researchers at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development (LIBD) believe they have solved the challenging riddle. This new understanding may lead to better treatment of schizophrenia, an often-devastating brain disorder characterized by delusional thinking, hallucinations, and other forms of psychosis.

Through their exploration of the expression of genes in the caudate nucleus – a region of the brain linked to emotional decision-making – the scientists uncovered physical evidence that neuronal cells are unable to precisely control levels of dopamine. They also identified the genetic mechanism that controls dopamine flow. Their findings were published today (November 1) in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

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