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Structural aging of human neurons contrast with changes seen in schizophrenia

Structural aging of human neurons is opposite of the changes in schizophrenia

While the human mind develops during aging, the mechanism of development remains unknown but may be the result of brain alteration derived from life style and environment.

Schizophrenia usually develops during puberty through early adulthood and is suspected to interrupt brain development, but the degree of neural alteration remains unclear in schizophrenia.

A new study, published in PLOS ONE, performed nanometer-scale three-dimensional analyses of post-mortem brain tissues of patients with schizophrenia and tissues from control patients by using synchrotron radiation nanotomography (nano-CT).

The distribution profiles of neurite curvature of the control cases showed a trend depending on their age, resulting in an age-correlated decrease in the standard deviation of neurite curvature (Pearson’s r = -0.80, p = 0.018).

In contrast to the control cases, the schizophrenia cases deviate upward from this correlation, exhibiting a 60% higher neurite curvature compared with the controls (p = 7.8 × 10-4).

The neurite curvature also showed a correlation with a hallucination score (Pearson’s r = 0.80, p = 1.8 × 10-4), indicating that neurite structure is relevant to brain function.

These findings suggest that adjusting the neurite curvature offers a possible route to treating schizophrenic hallucinations.

More information:
Ryuta Mizutani et al, Structural aging of human neurons is opposite of the changes in schizophrenia, PLOS ONE (2023). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0287646

Journal information:

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