KYOTO, Japan, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Japanese researchers say they have found an area of the brain critical for memory is immature in mice bred to have a schizophrenic-like disorder.
Professor Tsuyoshi Miyakawa of Kyoto University and Fujita Health University led the team of researchers with support from the Japan Science and Technology Agency. The scientists used mice bred to have genetic mutations that result in a range of abnormal behaviors similar to those of people with schizophrenia.
The team found dentate gyrus neurons in the hippocampus of the adult mice had not matured. They also found those neurons in the mice produced an altered form of a protein that resulted in a profound deficit in a type of memory critical for decision-making, and a type of behavioral agitation commonly observed in people with schizophrenia.
Professor Miyakawa concluded his team's research shows there are "reliable biomarkers" for types of schizophrenia, and that research findings of this kind "are essential for increasing the understanding of the … disorders."
He said immature dentate gyrus' could provide a basis for such biomarkers that might help produce new diagnosis and treatment for schizophrenia patients.
The research appears in the journal Molecular Brain.