U.S. scientists say a gene that helps form the brain's thinking circuitry might also increase the risk of developing schizophrenia. The paradox was discovered by researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health while exploring the effects of variation in the human gene DARPP-32.
The researchers showed how a version of the gene impacts the way two key brain regions exchange information, affecting such functions as general intelligence and attention. "We have found DARPP-32 shapes and controls a circuit coursing between the human striatum and prefrontal cortex that affects key brain functions implicated in schizophrenia, such as motivation, working memory and reward related learning," said Dr. Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg.
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