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Astellas and Fujita Health University Discover Neuronal Maturation Deficits in Patients Suffering from Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder
Date:7/25/2012

TOKYO, July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Astellas Pharma Inc. ("Astellas"; Tokyo:4503; President and CEO: Yoshihiko Hatanaka) and Fujita Health University (Aichi, President: Yoshikazu Kurosawa) announced that Astellas Research Institute of America LLC (ARIA), in collaboration with Dr. Tsuyoshi Miyakawa at Institute for Comprehensive Medical Science, Fujita Health University and Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI), has discovered deficits in maturation steps of neurogenesis within the hippocampus of patients with schizophrenia / bipolar disorder. This discovery was reported in a Scientific Journal called Translational Psychiatry on July 10, 2012.

The hippocampus is a brain structure that plays a primary role of learning and memory and also controls emotion and stress responses. Previous studies have found strong links between hippocampal malfunction and psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The hippocampus is also known as one of the only two brain regions that have new neurons generated into adulthood (adult neurogenesis). It is believed that the disturbances in the generation of new neurons may affect the function of the hippocampus, resulting in behavioral and cognitive alterations seen in some psychiatric diseases.

Human genetics studies have discovered that genetic variations (mutations) constitute predisposition to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Dr. Miyakawa's research group at Fujita Health University reported that a subgroup of gene-manipulated mouse mutants show not only behavioral deficits reminiscent of patients with psychiatric disorders (including cognitive deficits and social withdrawal) but also deficits in maturation of newly-born neurons in the hippocampus. Specifically, mutant mice have more immature neurons (expressing protein marker Calretinin) and less mature neurons (expressing protein marker Calbindin) in their hippocampal dentate gyrus, r
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SOURCE Astellas Pharma Inc.
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