Loss of nicastrin from oligodendrocytes results in hypomyelination and schizophrenia with compulsive behavior

Daniel R. Dries, Yi Zhu, Mieu M. Brooks, Diego A. Forero, Megumi Adachi, Basar Cenik, James M. West, Yu Hong Han, Cong Yu, Jennifer Arbella, Annelie Nordin, Rolf Adolfsson, Jurgen Del-Favero, Q. Richard Lu, Patrick Callaerts, Shari G. Birnbaum, Gang Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The biological underpinnings and the pathological lesions of psychiatric disorders are centuries-old questions that have yet to be understood. Recent studies suggest that schizophrenia and related disorders likely have their origins in perturbed neurodevelopment and can result from a large number of common genetic variants or multiple, individually rare genetic alterations. It is thus conceivable that key neurodevelopmental pathways underline the various genetic changes and the still unknown pathological lesions in schizophrenia. Here, we report that mice defective of the nicastrin subunit of γ-secretase in oligodendrocytes have hypomyelination in the central nervous system. These mice have altered dopamine signaling and display profound abnormal phenotypes reminiscent of schizophrenia. In addition, we identify an association of the nicastrin gene with a human schizophrenia cohort. These observations implicate γ-secretase and its mediated neurodevelopmental pathways in schizophrenia and provide support for the "myelination hypothesis" of the disease. Moreover, by showing that schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive symptoms could be modeled in animals wherein a single genetic factor is altered, our work provides a biological basis that schizophrenia with obsessivecompulsive disorder is a distinct subtype of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11647-11656
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number22
StatePublished - May 27 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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