Navigation Links
The mysterious GRIN3A and the cause of schizophrenia
Date:3/14/2013

Philadelphia, PA, March 14, 2013 Since the 1960s, psychiatrists have been hunting for substances made by the body that might accumulate in abnormally high levels to produce the symptoms associated with schizophrenia. In particular, there was a search for chemicals that might be related to the hallucinogens phencyclidine (PCP) or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), which could explain the emergence of psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia. This "auto-intoxication" hypothesis led investigators on a wild goose chase where substances, including the "Pink Spot" and the "Frohman Factor", were isolated from people with schizophrenia and implicated in their illness, but these findings were later discredited.

The mysterious GRIN3A is a new version of the hunt for an intrinsic mechanism that produces schizophrenia-like symptoms. GRIN3A is a gene that codes for the GluN3A subunit of the N-methyl-D-aspartate-type (NMDA) receptor, a target for the neurotransmitter glutamate in the brain. Functional NMDA receptors usually have two GluN1 subunits and two GluN2 subunits. The ability of glutamate to activate these receptors is blocked by PCP and the anesthetic/hallucinogen, ketamine. When the GluN3A subunit is incorporated, it prevents the NMDA receptor from being activated by glutamate, almost as if the receptor had been blocked by PCP.

It is unclear why the brain needs this mechanism for normal brain development and function, hence the mystery surrounding GRIN3A. One piece of evidence supporting a link between GluN3A and schizophrenia is the finding that GluN3A levels are elevated in the post-mortem brain tissue from people who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

In this issue of Biological Psychiatry, Japanese researchers led by Dr. Takeo Yoshikawa provide new support for this hypothesis by implicating variation in GRIN3A in the heritable risk for schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is thought to have a substantial genetic background which is, to some extent, population-specific. Genome-wide searches have revealed many common genomic variants with weak effects, but the remaining "missing heritability" is largely unknown. Scientists theorize that it may be partly explained by rare variants with large effect.

To identify genetic variants with larger effect sizes, Yoshikawa and his colleagues examined genetic data from several Asian populations. They identified a rare variant in GRIN3A with study-wide significance.

"This discovery is important, because the 'NMDA receptor hypothesis' for schizophrenia is a common disease model," said Yoshikawa. "We propose a novel point of therapeutic intervention in the NMDA receptor signaling system for schizophrenia."

Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry, commented, "The notion that a genetic trait that acts like PCP in the brain produces schizophrenia is a very attractive but over-simplistic hypothesis. It is that the biology of schizophrenia is much more complicated than this single factor. Nonetheless, perhaps this study of GRIN3A brings us another step closer to understanding glutamate abnormalities in schizophrenia."


'/>"/>

Contact: Rhiannon Bugno
Biol.Psych@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-0880
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers id queens, mysterious disease syndrome as key factors in bee colony deaths
2. Synchrotron infrared unveils a mysterious microbial community
3. Nunavuts mysterious ancient life could return by 2100
4. Mysterious snake disease decoded
5. Gene discovery set to help with mysterious paralysis of childhood
6. Life cycles of mysterious Namibian grassland fairy circles characterized
7. Low-cost nano-biosensor to detect foodborne pathogen that causes listeriosis
8. NASA pinpoints causes of 2011 Arctic ozone hole
9. Long-suspected cause of blindness from eye disease disproved
10. Protein abundant in cancerous cells causes DNA supercoiling
11. Why a hereditary anemia is caused by genetic mutation in mechanically sensitive ion channel
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com ... Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... will focus on developing health and wellness apps that ... Hack the Genome is the first hackathon for ... world,s largest companies in the genomics, tech and health ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... CHICAGO , March 29, 2017  higi, the ... ecosystem in North America , today ... Partners and the acquisition of EveryMove. The new investment ... extensive set of tools to transform population health activities ... and lifestyle data. higi collects and secures ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration from ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the ... Continue Reading ... ... Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, ... in analytical testing are being attributed to new regulatory requirements for all new ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... N.C. (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... ARCS® Foundation President Andi Purple announced Dr. Suneel I. Sheikh, the co-founder, ... ( ASTER Labs ), Inc. has been selected for membership in ARCS ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Wayne. NJ (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... Personal eye wash is a ... rinse one eye at a time. So which eye do you rinse first if a ... you have Plum Duo Eye Wash with its unique dual eye piece. , ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc ., a ... Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” with Dr. Nicolas ... practices and how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an increase in diagnostic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: