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 language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Biological Chemistry|
|State||Published - May 27 2016|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology