Washington: Overexpression of a gene associated with schizophrenia causes classic symptoms of the disorder that are reversed when gene expression returns to normal, scientists have shown in mice models.They genetically engineered mice so they could turn up levels of neuregulin-1 to mimic high levels found in some patients then return levels to normal, said Dr. Lin Mei, Director of the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.They found that when elevated, mice were hyperactive, couldn`t remember what they had just learned and couldn`t ignore distracting background or white noise. When they returned neuregulin-1 levels to normal in adult mice, the schizophrenia-like symptoms went away, said Mei, corresponding author of the study.While schizophrenia is generally considered a developmental disease that surfaces in early adulthood, Mei and his colleagues found that even when they kept neuregulin-1 levels normal until adulthood, mice still exhibited schizophrenia-like symptoms once higher levels were expressed. Without intervention, they developed symptoms at about the same age humans do.
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