Thursday, October 19th | 29 Tishri 5778

Close

Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

Subscribe
July 26, 2013 1:24 pm

French and Israeli Scientists Use Stem Cells to Study Schizophrenia

avatar by Josephine Bacon

Email a copy of "French and Israeli Scientists Use Stem Cells to Study Schizophrenia" to a friend

Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama during an exhibition of technological innovations in Israel. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/FLASH90.

Thanks to a simple human hair, French and Israeli scientists have made a breakthrough in understanding schizophrenia. French researchers at INSERM (the French equivalent of the British Medical Research Council) and an Israeli team from the Haifa Technion, have developed a new stem cell model in order to gain a better understanding of schizophrenia.

This “reversion” of human hair to its stem cell origin has made it possible to preserve a possible imprint of genetic defects in schizophrenics. This might one day allow scientists to identify those who will develop, or be at risk for developing, the crippling mental illness.

Related coverage

February 26, 2016 12:55 pm
1

Rubio Comes Out Swinging

US Senator Marco Rubio was cool as a cucumber, appropriately aggressive, and sharp as a tack in Thursday's Republican presidential debate. In...

Schizophrenia is a multifactoral mental illness that, among other things, alters the functioning of certain nerve cells and their mitochondrial activity. One of the predominant hypotheses suggests that the factors that trigger schizophrenia originate from a maternal disorder (such as stress or infection) in the first trimester of pregnancy, during the formation of the neuroectoderm, the embryonic tissue from which the brain and skin cells are derived.

To check these two hypotheses and develop a cell model capable of screening new medicational molecules, the researchers had the idea of converting cells from the hair of patients into induced pluri-potent cells or iPSCs (i.e. immature cells capable of producing any type of cell in the organism in the culture), then differentiating them into neurons.

The hypothesis was that cells from the hair would have the same neuroectodermal origin as the neurons and thus, any possible defects acquired during the course of the development of the neuroectoderm would be preserved.

For this purpose, cells from the hair of three schizophrenic patients and two healthy patients were reprogrammed into induced pluri-potent stem cells. “Hair was chosen due to the ease of sampling and because the follicular keratinocytes share a common origin with neurons,” explains Daniel Aberdam. This technique is far less traumatic than a skin biopsy performed under local anesthetic and traditionally used for producing iPSC.

Dr. Aberdam the lead French researcher on the project explains  “Once we were in possession of these cells, we could study them and convert them into every different cell type in order to understand what was not working and where it wasn’t working.”

Once these stem cells had been obtained, researchers caused them to turn into nerve cells, some of which exhibited a greatly reduced capacity to terminate their differentiation, while others were unable to reach maturity.

The researchers also showed that dopamine sensitivity of the mitochondria is disrupted in schizophrenics, causing an altered respiratory function in some of the nerve cells.

This shows that the cell model, even though it cannot imitate the full complexity of the brain, reproduces certain defects observed in patient samples and could be used for screening therapeutic molecules in schizophrenia. The French and Israeli scientists hope that one day, they will be able to use this information to create new screening measures and treatment for the disorder.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • It is silly to say that schizophrenia is incurable, that was thought to be the case with many other forms of mental illness until it could be detected that these people suffered from a deficiency in a trace element. Lithium has gone a long way to controlling types of mental illness. Schizophrenia is no more incurable than other diseases for which there is currently no cure, such as diabetes and kidney failure. This is another way in which stem cells can help cure chronic disease and another Israeli triumph. Of course, the BBC will report it as being attributable to somewhere else, as they did with the walking suit for paraplegics which they claimed was invented in San Francisco!

  • It’s so great to know that there are such schientists in the world like these ones from Israel, who are able to create some specific cure for disease that seems to be incurable! It inspires with a hope in humanity!

  • Stefan Andersson

    Professor Tim Crow’s theory suggests that schizophrenia is the price we pay for language and I wonder if the exposure to stimulus (non-verbal) – stimulus (verbal) contingencies (classical conditioning) when you with a short delay are able to restore a verbal message or interpret what subjectively seems to be a verbal message can have such a profound effect that some people develop a mental illness.

    ——–SUMMARY——–

    The event we call perception:

    Some people who hear their own thoughts as alien voices in response to non-verbal environmental sounds are able to generate the perception of an external voice “that retain certain acoustic features that were present in the original signal” and what if each and every one of us are able to use covert speech to generate the perception of an external voice “that retain certain acoustic features that were present in the original signal” when we need to restore and better distinguish a verbal message?

    From normal behavior to schizophrenia:

    To frequently reward a behavior which generates the exposure to stimulus (non-verbal) – stimulus (verbal) contingencies when you with a short delay are able to restore a verbal message or interpret what subjectively seems to be a verbal message can establish or maintain a tendency to interpret what people normally ignore!

    Any signal that consistently precedes a meal, such as a clock indicating that it is time for dinner or an appetizer, may cause us to feel hungrier than before the signal because we learn to expect a meal in response to CS and non-verbal environmental sounds that consistently precedes a verbal illusion (information) can like any signal that consistently precedes a meal become a conditioned reinforcer that can activate a drive representation D. What you learn to expect in response to a signal that consistently precedes a reinforcer can motivate an operant behavior which has been established and fine tuned because it satisfies the need to access what you learn to expect…

    What can increase the exposure to stimulus (non-verbal) – stimulus (verbal) contingencies like these?

    What will make it necessary to restore a verbal message (the exposure to noise and some hearing impairments), what will increase the exposure to more ambiguous voices (some urban environments), what may increase the need to access a verbal message (sensory deprivation, traumatic events, solitude or whatever gives you the sense of not belonging in a social context) and what will diminish our ability to generate an act of will with which we are able to consciously control covert speech with regards to a certain goal (sleep deprivation and stress).

    Can the exposure to stimulus (non-verbal) – stimulus (verbal) contingencies (classical conditioning) like these have such a profound effect that some people develop a mental illness?

    “Non-clinical populations usually experience voices with a neutral or even positive emotional content” while those who are diagnosed with schizophrenia more often experience voices expressed with a negative emotional content!

    I have tried to understand why some people do rather well while others are diagnosed with a mental illness in the light of the assumption that people who experience voices expressed with a neutral or even positive emotional content are trying to hear the voice they are about to produce while those who experience voices expressed with a negative emotional content are trying to avoid the voice they are about to produce by paying more attention to what they are able to hear more objectively…

  • Stefan Andersson

    Nice to hear, but schizophrenia depend on both environmental and genetic factors. (The best way to understand this illness is probably to study a phenotype with all its symptoms and then try to understand the road from normal behavior to schizophrenia… )

    From lingforum.com
    Post subject: Speech perception and some symptoms of schizophrenia
    http://www.lingforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=512

  • THE SCIENTISTS AND RESEARCHERS IN ISRAEL ARE MAGNIFICENT. THEY ARE FINDING SUCH WONDERFUL INFORMATION ABOUT DISEASES AND MENTAL DISORDERS AND WAYS TO CONTROL OR CURE THEM. THEY ARE A WONDERFUL PEOPLE, ADDING SO MUCH TO THE WORLD DESPITE THE ANTI-SEMITES AND MUSLIM MONSTERS ALL AROUND THEM. THE VILE MUSLIM WORLD AND TWISTED ANTI-SEMITIC PEOPLES ALL OVER THE WORLD ADD NOTHING TO THE BETTERMENT OF MANKIND OR LIFE ANYWHERE. ALL THESE HATERS OF ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH PEOPLE ADD NOTHING TO THE WORLD BUT HARM.

  • Andrea

    Every time I read a story about how Israel is creating yet another amazing technology or helping cure a disease, I hope the anti-Semites and BDS nuts stay true to their “cause” and refrain from using Israeli cures to save their lives.

Algemeiner.com