Lower enzyme levels linked with schizophrenia

July 21st, 2011 - 3:51 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 21 (IANS) Lower levels of an enzyme called p35, which is vital for activating a protein called Cdk5 for brain development, may be linked with schizophrenia.

Professor Giese, Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London, said: “For the first time we have found that an enzyme activator called p35 is reduced in patients with schizophrenia.”

“Mice, genetically engineered to have lower levels of p35, developed cognitive impairment typical for this disease. This gives us a better understanding of the changes that occur in the brain during the onset of schizophrenia,” added Giese.

Significantly, the brains of patients of schizophrenia, after post-mortems, were found to have 50 percent less p35, reports the journal Brain.

Schizophrenia, a serious mental health condition, affects about 24 million people worldwide. WHO figures show that 90 percent of untreated schizophrenics are in developing countries.

The illness causes hallucinations and delusions as well as behavioural changes and violence, according to a King’s College statement. The exact cause of the illness is unknown, although it is generally believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

However, many of the antipsychotic drugs or major tranquillizers used to treat or manage the illness have very bad side effects.

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