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Schizophr Bull. 2010 Nov;36(6):1157-66. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbp033. Epub 2009 May 8.

Fibroblast growth factors in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands.


A large association study by O'Donovan et al recently suggested that genetic variation in fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) 2 increases the risk for developing schizophrenia. Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are part of the family of glial growth factors; they control the growth and patterning of specific brain structures and regulate the maintenance and repair of neuronal tissues. In addition, a direct interaction was recently found between FGFRs and adenosine A(2A) receptors, leading to corticostriatal plasticity and antagonizing the signaling pathway of dopamine D(2) receptors. These findings make FGFs plausible candidate genes for schizophrenia. Here, we review the role of FGFs in schizophrenia and combine evidence from studies on variations in FGF genes, RNA expression, protein levels, and FGF administration, as well as the effects of medication and environmental risk factors for schizophrenia. These data suggest that changes in the FGF system contribute to schizophrenia and possibly to a wider range of psychiatric disorders. The role of FGFs in schizophrenia and related disorders needs to be studied in more detail.

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