Elisabeth Manville
Jan 25, 2012

Stem cells from the nose aid in understanding brains of patients with schizophrenia

Researchers have discovered a way to examine the processes of schizophrenia in cells from the nose. Neural stem cells can be used in the study of the mechanisms of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders, and now scientists have an easier way of obtaining these cells. The olfactory mucosa, the sense organ of smell in the nose, is continually regenerating sensory neurons from adult stem cells that can be studied as a substitute for living brain cells. In comparing these cells from schizophrenia patients to those from healthy individuals, researchers found that the neural cells of those with the disease replicate at a faster rate. “This is a first insight into real differences in patient cells that could lead to slightly altered brain development," explains Dr. Alan Mackay-Sim from the National Centre for Adult Stem Cell Research at Australia’s Griffith University, an author of the study.