Researchers at the University of Tel Aviv may have uncovered new information about the molecular process that occurs in the development of schizophrenia.
Researchers examined the brains of various schizophrenics, finding that a process called autography is reduced. That is the process in which unneeded or dysfunctional molecular components are eradicated in the brain.
This may be due to reduced levels of a protein called Beclin-1 in the hippocampus, which is a key component of autography. This discovery could lead to new drugs that spur on production of Beclin-1, thus regulating autography:
“It is all about balance. Paucity in beclin-1 may lead to decreased autophagy and enhanced cell death. Our research suggests that normalizing beclin-1 levels in schizophrenia patients could restore balance and prevent harmful brain-cell death,” the researchers said.
“We discovered a new pathway that plays a part in schizophrenia. By identifying and targeting the proteins known to be involved in the pathway, we may be able to diagnose and treat the disease in new and more effective ways.”