Schizophrenia Predicted by a Gene Variant

Medical Authors and Editors: Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D. and Frederick Hecht, M.D.

Aug 13, 2004 -- A gene that influences the management of a messenger molecule called glutamate has been found to be a leading candidate for predicting the risk of schizophrenia. The gene known as GRM3 encodes the glutamate receptor. It regulates glutamate at the synapse, the space between neurons in the brain, where glutamate is a transmitter of information from one neuron to the next.

These findings were published online by Michael Egan and colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health and will appear in print in the August 24th issue of the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Schizophrenia and GRM3

Schizophrenia affects several regions in the prefrontal cortex (the front part of the brain) that are involved in cognition including the processes of higher thinking and decision-making. Many of the genes already identified as likely candidates in schizophrenia affect the glutamate system. This study implicates the GRM3 gene.

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