Schizophrenia/Nicotine Question

Dave Curtis dcurtis at hgmp.mrc.ac.uk
Fri Apr 4 15:18:30 EST 1997


> Seems quite appropriate to me. The interest in nicotine and schizophrenia
> is very new, and I have a short summary of some research on the topic from
> Nature, February 3, 1997 under the heading "New Schizophrenia Gene". The
> report references a 1997 paper by Freedman in Proceedings of the National
> Academy of Sciences, 94, 587-92.
> 
> The group has found a defect in the gene for a nicotinic cholinergic
> receptor on chromosome 15. According to the report "These receptors act
> as the brain's informational filters, helping it to separate important
> stimuli from useless noise". The defective gene impairs these filters.

The report in Proc Natl Acad Sci only reports linkage of a trait to the
region of c15 where the nicotinic receptor gene is situated. There's no
report of any defect in the gene itself, it's just that it's an
appealing hypothesis that that gene is involved. However the implicated
region would contain hundreds if not thousands of genes. The trait
tested is not schizophrenia itself, either, but the failure of normal
p50 inhibition.



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