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Biol Pharm Bull. 2011;34(9):1364-8.

Animal model for schizophrenia that reflects gene-environment interactions.

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Department of Neuropsychopharmacology and Hospital Pharmacy, Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya University, Japan.


Schizophrenia is a devastating psychiatric disorder that impairs mental and social functioning and affects approximately 1% of the population worldwide. Genetic susceptibility factors for schizophrenia have recently been reported, some of which are known to play a role in neurodevelopment; these include neuregulin-1, dysbindin, and disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1 (DISC1). Moreover, epidemiologic studies suggest that environmental insults, such as prenatal infection and perinatal complication, are involved in the development of schizophrenia. The possible interaction between environment and genetic susceptibility factors, especially during neurodevelopment, is proposed as a promising disease etiology of schizophrenia. Polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidilic acid (polyI : C) is a synthetic analogue of double-stranded RNA that leads to the pronounced but time-limited production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Maternal immune activation by polyI : C exposure in rodents is known to precipitate a wide spectrum of behavioral, cognitive, and pharmacological abnormalities in adult offspring. Recently, we have reported that neonatal injection of polyI : C in mice results in schizophrenia-like behavioral alterations in adulthood. In this review, we show how gene-environment interactions during neurodevelopment result in phenotypic changes in adulthood by injecting polyI : C into transgenic mice that express a dominant-negative form of human DISC1 (DN-DISC1). Our findings suggest that polyI : C-treated DN-DISC1 mice are a well-validated animal model for schizophrenia that reflects gene-environment interactions.

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