Minocycline Reduces Synaptic Pruning in Schizophrenia Cell Models


NEW YORK—Minocycline reduces excessive synaptic pruning in schizophrenia patient-derived cell models, suggesting that it might delay or prevent the onset of schizophrenia in some individuals, according to new research.

“After years of looking, for the first time, we see differences in synapses between schizophrenia patients and healthy controls,” Dr. Roy H. Perlis from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, in Boston, told Reuters Health by email. “And we can potentially use this finding to look for new treatments.”

Postmortem studies of people with schizophrenia have shown reduced numbers of dendritic spines, and researchers have suggested that excessive synaptic pruning by microglia in late adolescence and early adulthood could be responsible. Differences between human and rodent microglia and the inability to model microglial functions in humans using patient-derived primary cells have limited efforts to test this hypothesis.