Investigation of schizophrenia factors in human neurons

Ryan M. Onatzevitch

Vol. 1, Issue 2, p 21-25 (2019)

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ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is a prevalent neuropsychiatric disorder with a high heritability rate. This heritability rate is attributed to genetic risk factors. The most influential risk factor that has been identified so far is the gene NRXN1. Defects in this gene are found in much higher rates in schizophrenia patients, identifying it as a risk factor. The neurexin protein is involved in neurotransmission, cellular recognition, and neuron development. To investigate the effects of schizophrenia in neurons, cells were used from established schizophrenic lines. These cells were cultured into developed neurons and studied for neuronal migration, astrocyte ratios, and NRXN1 isoform expression. Gene expression was studied through RNA sequencing, and cells were imaged with confocal laser microscopy. Neuronal migration changed significantly along with ratios of astrocytes to neurons, and isoform expression was shown to be altered in schizophrenic lines as well. Observations of these specific functional changes offer more insight into the mechanics of schizophrenia as well as the reliability of cell-based disease studies.
KEYWORDS: Biology; Schizophrenia; Stem Cells; Neurons; Neuronal Migration