January 26, 2004



A type of communication that goes on inside cells may be linked to schizophrenia, according to researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and Rockefeller University. Although scientists do not know what causes schizophrenia, they have known for many years that many different genes and environmental factors play a role, but it's only been during the past two years that some of these genes have been convincingly linked to the disease.
The new study suggests that malfunction and lack of communication between two key regulatory proteins inside the cells of people with schizophrenia are also involved. This results in impairment of a pathway that plays an important role in cell survival and synaptic plasticity of the central nervous system. The study was published today on the Nature Genetics web site.
“The challenge now for schizophrenia researchers is to understand how genes that increase the risk for schizophrenia interact with each other to cause disease,” says one of the study's senior authors, Dr. Joseph Gogos, assistant professor of physiology and cellular biophysics at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, “and my lab is actively working toward this goal.”