Sunday, March 12, 2017

Week 6

Schizophrenia has always been one of my interests in the field of neuroscience so I was very excited to finally begin this set of papers. I also just read Brain on Fire which details a NMDA-autoimmune disease that results is oftentimes misdiagnosed as schizophrenia due to symptom similarity. I really enjoyed reading more about the role of NMDA receptors in relation to these symptoms after finishing Brain on Fire.

While there are definitely certain symptoms of schizophrenia that are able to be observed (catatonia, aggression, repetitive movements, etc.), there are others that are difficult to visualize (hallucinations, paranoia, etc.). This has always caused me to wonder if scientists will ever be able to develop a strong animal model for schizophrenia. Upon reading the Kellendonk et al. paper my feelings still hadn't changed; though I do believe that the dopaminergic system does have implications in schizophrenic symptoms. That said, I also believe that given the wide range and variety of symptoms present with schizophrenia a multitude of neurotransmitter systems are most likely also involved. Another component of the paper that I couldn't totally grasp was the back and forth comparison with rats. I understand that there are certain studies done with rats that have led to information that can relate to aspects of this paper, but I would have assumed that there were other studies done in mice that could have been used instead to keep the comparison within species. I had to reread a few sections to clearly differentiate discussions regarding previous papers utilizing rats from discussions of the current study's data on the transgenic mice used. I did, however, find it interesting that the impairment in the working memory task was not corrected with the application of dox to turn off the transgene and the excess D2 receptor expression.

Briefly on the Moore et al. paper: I enjoyed the thorough process of detailing the creation of an animal model, especially of schizophrenia. Obviously there are improvements to be made within the model, as is the same with most, but I found it a helpful discussion. My reservations still remain however, given that symptoms such as hallucinations and paranoia, which are very characteristic of schizophrenia, are not able to be observed in this animal model.

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