“Mini-Brain” Organoids Provide Clues About Early-Life Origins of Schizophrenia; Fundamental Discovery of Reduced Expression of Two Key Genes May Force Field to Reconsider When Disease Truly Begins and How Scientists Should Think About Developing Next Generation of Schizophrenia Therapeutics

Multiple changes in brain cells during the first month of embryonic development may contribute to schizophrenia later in life, according to a new study by Weill Cornell Medicine investigators. The researchers, whose study was published online in Molecular Psychiatry on November 17, 2021, used stem cells collected from patients with schizophrenia and people without the disease to grow 3-dimensional “mini-brains” or organoids in the laboratory. By comparing the development of both sets of organoids, the scientists discovered that a reduced expression of two genes in the cells stymies early development and causes a shortage of brain cells in organoids grown from patient stem cells. The open-access article is titled “Schizophrenia Is Defined by Cell-Specific Neuropathology and Multiple Neurodevelopmental Mechanisms in Patient-Derived Cerebral Organoids.”
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