Computer modeling provides insight into cellular-level effects of schizophrenia risk genes

Philadelphia, PA, Jan. 21, 2016 – Numerous genetic variants associated with risk for schizophrenia have been identified. However, little is known about how these genes have their effects in the brain. A proof-of-concept study published in the inaugural issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging proposes a computer model for measuring the cumulative impact of multiple genetic variations on the function of individual neurons. Authors of the study focused on schizophrenia-linked gene variations that are known to influence cellular structures such as ion channels and calcium transporters. Any changes to these structures would have an impact on the excitability of individual neurons. Using computational analysis, the investigators were able to predict how alterations in these structures would change the behavior of neuronal cells. “Our computational simulations suggest…


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