A schizophrenic mouse model has been created by scientists at the Medical College of Georgia. They claim this will help in developing new therapies for the disorder.
They created the novel model by reducing the inhibition of brain cells involved in complex reasoning and decisions about appropriate social behaviour.
It explains the critical balance between excitation and inhibition of these cells that appears to go awry in schizophrenia.
"We believe the mouse, which exhibits some of the same aberrant behaviour as patients with this disorder, will help identify better therapies," said Dr. Lin Mei, a developmental neurobiologist who directs MCG's Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics.
"We are doing testing to see if antipsychotic drugs already on the market are effective in treating the mouse," Mei added.
Scientists made the mouse by deleting a candidate gene for schizophrenia, ErbB4, from interneurons, which are brain cells that help shower larger decision-making neurons, called pyramidal cells, with inhibition.
The findings by appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.