Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, Professor Emeritus, Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery, Griffith University presents "The cell biology of schizophrenia"
Schizophrenia is recognized as a polygenic disorder with the contribution of potentially hundreds of risk genes that affect brain development. Patient-derived cells can provide a way to understand how all those genes act in concert to alter cell functions relevant to brain development and function. Olfactory neurosphere-derived cells are a multipotent neural stem cell accessible via biopsy of the olfactory mucosa. These stem cells are amenable to high throughput screening and live cell imaging in 96 well plate format allowing quantitation of hundreds of cells from many patients and controls. Patient-derived olfactory stem cells show schizophrenia associated dysregulation of gene and protein expression that translates to deficits in multiple functions including cell proliferation, cell migration and protein synthesis. This systems biology approach indicates that all those risk genes have a very broad impact on cells affecting their homeostasis and responses to their environment. The effect of this on brain development is not yet clear but we are closer to understanding some of the domains of cell biology that are important.
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