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Brain tissue reveals possible genetic trigger for schizophrenia

nia. The basic activity of this "executive" brain region is the orchestration of thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals.

Previous studies have shown that microRNAs play a role in regulating brain development. They also figure importantly in "synaptic plasticity," the ability of neurons to make connections with one another. "And those connections between neurons come and go all the time. It's a normal process for them to be pruned and grow again, depending on what the brain needs to do to interact with the environment," Perkins explained.

"There is growing evidence that schizophrenia may related to disordered synaptic plasticity," she added. "Our study found a striking, significant difference in microRNA expression between people with schizophrenia and healthy people. Using bioinformatic analyses, we found that the distinguishing microRNAs appear to regulate genes involved in synaptic plasticity."

Acknowledging this was a pilot study, Perkins and her colleagues plan further research with larger tissue samples.


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Source:University of North Carolina School of Medicine


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