Research at MCG could help treat schizophrenia

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May 23, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.--- New research just out of the Medical College of Georgia today shows there may be a pathway out of the mental disease, schizophrenia.

Dr. Lin Mei is a neuroscientist at MCG and he's found a new function for the protein neuregulin-1. Dr. Lin and other scientists figured out in 2000 the protein played a role in exciting neurons, which leads to seizures.

Now his new research shows the protein also plays a role in inhibition, which can lead to depression. For schizophrenics---a genetic mutation means lack of chemical balance in the brain, and disease. "Identifying the normal function of neuregulin identifies tools for diagnosis and also for therapeutic intervention," says Dr. Lin. It could be several years before we see Dr. Lin's research turned into a form of treatment for schizophrenia. Dr. Mei's research appears in today's issue of Neuron.

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