A new research study has discovered a gene that is associated with the mental disorder schizophrenia, and this gene is also responsible for some role in the development of the brain. Researchers believe that the study results may help medical science understand how schizophrenia originates in an individual. The gene in question is the NOS1AP gene, and Rutger’s Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience professor Bonnie Firestein, Ph.D explained that when the gene expresses too much protein this causes brain structure abnormalities and creates connections between nerve cells which are faulty and that prevent proper cell communication. More than one previous research study has identified the same gene as the origin of schizophrenia. The study results have been published in the Biological Psychiatry journal.
No research study to date has proven exactly what causes schizophrenia but researchers have many indications of how this mental disorder develops and the brain functions that occur with this condition. According to professor Bonnie Firestein “When the brain develops, it sets up a system of the right type of connectivity to make sure that communication can occur. What we saw here was that the nerve cells didn’t move to the correct locations and didn’t have dendrites that branch out to make the connections that were needed.” Firestein continued by stating “The next step would be to let the disease develop in the laboratory and try to treat the over expression of the protein with an anti-psychotic therapy to see if it works.” The specific gene isolated in the study is just one of the genes that scientists believe is responsible for the development of schizophrenia.