Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Metabolomics & Lipidomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

High Levels of Glutamate in Brain May Kick-Start Schizophrenia

Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Bookmark and Share
An excess of the brain neurotransmitter glutamate may cause a transition to psychosis in people who are at risk for schizophrenia.

The findings suggest 1) a potential diagnostic tool for identifying those at risk for schizophrenia and 2) a possible glutamate-limiting treatment strategy to prevent or slow progression of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders.

“Previous studies of schizophrenia have shown that hypermetabolism and atrophy of the hippocampus are among the most prominent changes in the patient’s brain,” said senior author Scott Small, MD, Boris and Rose Katz Professor of Neurology at CUMC. “The most recent findings had suggested that these changes occur very early in the disease, which may point to a brain process that could be detected even before the disease begins.”

To locate that process, the Columbia researchers used neuroimaging tools in both patients and a mouse model. First they followed a group of 25 young people at risk for schizophrenia to determine what happens to the brain as patients develop the disorder. In patients who progressed to schizophrenia, they found the following pattern: First, glutamate activity increased in the hippocampus, then hippocampus metabolism increased, and then the hippocampus began to atrophy.

To see if the increase in glutamate led to the other hippocampus changes, the researchers turned to a mouse model of schizophrenia. When the researchers increased glutamate activity in the mouse, they saw the same pattern as in the patients: The hippocampus became hypermetabolic and, if glutamate was raised repeatedly, the hippocampus began to atrophy.

Theoretically, this dysregulation of glutamate and hypermetabolism could be identified through imaging individuals who are either at risk for or in the early stage of disease. For these patients, treatment to control glutamate release might protect the hippocampus and prevent or slow the progression of psychosis.

Strategies to treat schizophrenia by reducing glutamate have been tried before, but with patients in whom the disease is more advanced. “Targeting glutamate may be more useful in high-risk people or in those with early signs of the disorder,” said Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD, a renowned expert in the field of schizophrenia, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at CUMC, and president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association. “Early intervention may prevent the debilitating effects of schizophrenia, increasing recovery in one of humankind’s most costly mental disorders.”

In an accompanying commentary, Bita Moghaddam, PhD, professor of neuroscience and of psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, suggests that if excess glutamate is driving schizophrenia in high-risk individuals, it may also explain why a patient’s first psychotic episodes are often caused by periods of stress, since stress increases glutamate levels in the brain.

The other authors of “Imaging Patients with Psychosis and a Mouse Model Establishes a Spreading Pattern of Hippocampal Dysfunction and Implicates Glutamate as a Driver” are: Scott A. Schobel (CUMC, The New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI), F. Hoffman–La Roche); Nashid H. Chaudhury (Yale University School of Medicine); Usman A. Khan (CUMC, SUNY Downstate Medical Center); Beatriz Paniagua (CUMC); Martin A. Styner (CUMC); Iris Asllani (CUMC); Benjamin P. Inbar (NYSPI); Cheryl M. Corcoran (CUMC, NYSPI); and Holly Moore (CUMC).

Dr. Schobel is currently a full-time employee of F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd. Dr. Schobel’s work on this study began when he was an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia and prior to his employment at Roche. The remaining authors declare no financial or other conflicts of interest.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New Link Between Obesity and Diabetes Found
Targeting a single enzyme that raises both sugar and insulin levels in the obese could prevent and treat diabetes.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Type 1 Diabetes and Heart Disease Linked by Inflammatory Protein
Therapeutic agents that block the protein calprotectin could potentially reverse or slow the progression of atherosclerosis in people with type 1 diabetes.
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Hundreds of Alterations and Potential Drug Targets to Starve Tumors Identified
Results should ramp up research into drugs that interfere with cancer metabolism.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Hundreds of Alterations and Potential Drug Targets to Starve Tumors Identified
A massive study analyzing gene expression data from 22 tumor types has identified multiple metabolic expression changes associated with cancer.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Scientific News
Could the Food we Eat Affect Our Genes?
Almost all of our genes may be influenced by the food we eat, according to new research.
Charting Kidney Cancer Metabolism
Changes in cell metabolism are increasingly recognized as an important way tumors develop and progress, yet these changes are hard to measure and interpret. A new tool designed by MSK scientists allows users to identify metabolic changes in kidney cancer tumors that may one day be targets for therapy.
Cytoskeleton Crew
Findings confirm sugar's role in helping cancers survive by changing cellular architecture.
Microbiome May Hold the Key to Fighting Obesity
In a unique study of free-ranging brown bears, Swedish researchers were able to show that the bears’ dietary variation goes hand-in-hand with dramatic changes in the animal’s gut microbiota.
Cancer Cells Kill Off Healthy Neighbours
Cancer cells create space to grow by killing off surrounding healthy cells, according to UK researchers working with fruit flies.
Future of Medicine Could be Found in a Tiny Crystal Ball
A Drexel University materials scientist has discovered a way to grow a crystal ball in a lab. Not the kind that soothsayers use to predict the future, but a microscopic version that could be used to encapsulate medication in a way that would allow it to deliver its curative payload more effectively inside the body.
Toxicity Testing With Cultured Liver Cells
Microreactor replaces animal testing.
Proteins Seek, Attack, Destroy Tumor Cells in Bloodstream
Using white blood cells to ferry potent cancer-killing proteins through the bloodstream virtually eliminates metastatic prostate cancer in mice, Cornell researchers have confirmed.
Why Do Some Infections Persist?
In preparing for the possibility of an antibiotic onslaught, some bacterial cultures adopt an all-for-one/one-for-all strategy that would make a socialist proud, University of Vermont researchers have found.
Flipping Molecular 'Switch' May Reduce Nicotine's Effects in the Brain
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered that a lipid (fat molecule) in brain cells may act as a “switch” to increase or decrease the motivation to consume nicotine.
SELECTBIO

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!