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Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2002 Feb;12(1):13-25.

GSK-3 and the neurodevelopmental hypothesis of schizophrenia.

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  • 1Stanley Foundation Research Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheva, Israel.


The Neurodevelopmental Hypothesis of schizophrenia suggests that interaction between genetic and environmental events occurring during critical early periods in neuronal growth may negatively influence the way by which nerve cells are laid down, differentiated and selectively culled by apoptosis. Recent advances offer insights into the regulation of brain development. The Wnt family of genes plays a central role in normal brain development. Activation of the Wnt cascade leads to inactivation of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta), accumulation and activation of beta-catenin and expression of genes involved in neuronal development. Alteration in the Wnt transduction cascade, which may represent an aberrant neurodevelopment in schizophrenia, is discussed. Programmed cell death is also an essential component of normal brain development. Abnormal neuronal distribution found in schizophrenic patients' brains may imply aberrant programmed cell death. GSK-3 participates in the signal transduction cascade of apoptosis. The possible role of aberrant GSK-3 in the etiology of schizophrenia is discussed.

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