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Prog Brain Res. 2009;179:75-86. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(09)17909-8. Epub 2009 Nov 20.

Gene models of schizophrenia: DISC1 mouse models.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Disrupted in Schizophrenia-1 (DISC1) is one of the most likely susceptibility genes for schizophrenia (SZ). DISC1 is being established as a hub protein with various functions in the pre- and postnatal development of the nervous system. Since generation of a knockout (KO) mouse has proved challenging, various alternative approaches have been taken. Seven DISC1 mouse models have been described to date. All of them display neuroanatomical and behavioral abnormalities relevant to SZ, although most of them have not been fully characterized yet, requiring further analysis. NRG1 and ErbB4, also highly promising susceptibility genes for SZ, share many features with DISC1. They are involved in various aspects of pre- and postnatal neurodevelopment. The NRG1 and ErbB4 mouse models also display neuroanatomical and behavioral abnormalities similar to the DISC1 mouse models. In the future, four main directions need further study. First, further characterization of the seven DISC1 mouse models, especially in light of basic research findings. Second, more extensive employment of the inducible models. Third, generation of a DISC1 KO. Fourth, combination of the DISC1 mouse models with other risk factors: crossing with other genetic models such as NRG1/ErbB4 mutants and exposure to environmental risk factors.

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