Schizophrenia, which affects around 7 people in 1000, is a poorly understood group of mental disorders that disrupt cognition and behaviour. Common hallmarks include delusions, hallucinations, and difficulty perceiving reality.
The precise neurological cause of schizophrenia is unknown and the development of better treatments are urgently needed. This research will provide a model to begin to address some of the underlying fundamental mechanisms involved.
Scientists - Schizophrenia - Change - Way - Brain
What scientists do know is that schizophrenia is associated with a pronounced change in the way the brain uses dopamine, the neurotransmitter often referred to as the brain's 'reward molecule'.
"In schizophrenia patients, dopamine signalling significantly increases in a brain region called the striatum," explained Professor Darryl Eyles at UQ's Queensland Brain Institute.
Symptoms - Production - Release - Dopamine
"It is thought that some of the symptoms relate to an elevated production and release of dopamine," he said.
"New research also shows that these changes are most pronounced in the dorsal or upper portion of the striatum, not the ventral striatum where we've been focussed for many years."
Dopamine - Release - Part - Striatum - Symptoms
However, it is still not clear why excessive dopamine release in that part of the striatum leads to the symptoms of schizophrenia, or what happens to other regions of the brain when dopamine is elevated in this area.
To address this, Prof Eyles, QBI PhD student Alice Petty, and their colleagues developed a new animal model of schizophrenia where dopamine is specifically...
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