Wednesday, 10 April 2019: A study published in Molecular Psychiatry has identified changes in inflammation-related biochemical pathways in schizophrenia that interfere with proper brain nerve cell communication. Researchers have found the first direct evidence in support of increased kynurenic acid production in the brain, which is known to block a key glutamate receptor. This discovery paves the way for development of better targeted therapies with fewer side effects for people with schizophrenia.
The study is a collaboration between Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), UNSW Sydney and Macquarie University.
The study found elevated kynurenic acid in the brains of people with schizophrenia suggesting an overproduction of kynurenic acid, especially in response to inflammation, which could be detrimental to brain function.
“We found that inflammation plays an important role in the brain pathology of schizophrenia. However, we do not know which avenue of inflammation leads to the brain pathology of schizophrenia,” said Professor Cynthia Shannon Weickert, from NeuRA and UNSW Sydney.