brainAfter extensive study on an animal model, Japanese researchers believe the underdevelopment of a specific region in the brain may lead to schizophrenia in individuals.

According to the research published in the open access journal Molecular Brain, the dentate gyrus, which is located in the hippocampus in the brain and thought to be responsible for working memory and mood regulation, remained immature in an animal model of schizophrenia.

Despite extensive study, the brain mechanisms of schizophrenia remain largely unknown. According to the researchers, one reason for this is that clinical diagnosis in the area of psychiatry is based solely on subjective observations and not on biologically or objectively solid criteria.

“As a result of this limitation, most of the psychiatric disorders currently diagnosed as a single disorder are likely to comprise several biologically distinct heterogeneous populations.

“Therefore, the identification and investigation of more reliable biomarkers that characterize a single subpopulation of a specific psychiatric disorder are essential for increasing the understanding of the pathogenesis/pathophysiology of such disorders.”

The authors note that “‘Immature dentate gyrus’ could provide a basis for such biomarkers that may help produce new diagnosis and treatment for schizophrenia patients”.

Source: National Institute for Physiological Sciences