Rat Study Links Lead to Schizophrenia

By Rick Nauert PHD, http://psychcentral.com/

Rat StudyA new study of the brains of rats exposed to lead suggests the metal may contribute to the onset of schizophrenia.

Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health researchers found striking similarities in the rat brains to what is known about the brains of human schizophrenia patients.

A description of the study results appear in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

The researchers found that lead had a detrimental effect on cells in three brain areas implicated in schizophrenia: the medial prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus, and the striatum of rats exposed to lead before birth and in the early part of their lives.

Moreover, the density of brain cells declined by approximately one-third — roughly the same percentage decline seen in schizophrenia patients.

Imaging technology also revealed higher levels of a dopamine receptor similar to what has been documented in human schizophrenia patients, and in a previous study of genetically engineered mice.

“The similarities in the brain structure and neuronal systems between what we see in lead-exposed rats and human schizophrenia patients are striking, and adds to a growing body of literature suggesting that early lead exposure primes the brain for schizophrenia later in life,” said senior author Tomás Guilarte, Ph.D. Read more

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Posted on April 28, 2015, in Lead and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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