May 30, 2024

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Poor brain immunity may be the cause of mental illness

Poor brain immunity may be the cause of mental illness

 

Poor brain immunity may be the cause of mental illness. Mental illness affects approximately 2% to 3% of the population. It is characterized by changes in perceptions of reality, often with hallucinations and paranoid reactions.

Most people affected are schizophrenics, but people with bipolar disorder may also experience psychotic symptoms.


The currently available antipsychotic drugs often do not work well, and for patients, their living conditions may be difficult.

According to data from the Swedish National Health and Welfare Board, the average life expectancy of people with schizophrenia is about 15 years shorter than that of ordinary people.

It is not completely clear what biological mechanism causes psychosis, but recent studies have shown that the immune activation of brain glial cells may be the cause of psychosis. Goran Einberg, professor of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Karolinska Institute and the corresponding author of the study, said: “Kynurenic acid levels in the brains of mentally ill patients are elevated. A messenger from the brain’s immune system to neurons.”.

Previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have shown that GRK3 protein is expressed through genetic changes in the immune system of patients with psychosis.

Now, researchers at the Karolinska Institute at the University of California, San Diego and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, USA, have studied more specifically which parts of the immune system affect mental illness.

The basis of this research is a large amount of data from mice lacking GRK3 protein in the brain, and genome analysis of 70 patients with bipolar disorder and 48 healthy controls.

The results show that the loss of GRK3 protein seems to increase the sensitivity of the immune system and trigger a series of effects in the brain, including increased release of cytokines IL-1β and kynurenine.

Carl Selgren, a senior lecturer in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Karolinska Institute, said: “Our experimental data has been confirmed through genetic studies. In genetic studies, we found that psychosis and GRK3 expression in patients with bipolar disorder There is a link between the decrease, and the decrease in GRK3 expression leads to an increase in kynuric acid in the brain.”

The data of this study provides a link between immune activation and psychosis, and thus provides a starting point for further research on new antipsychotic drugs with immunomodulatory functions.

The drugs currently used for the treatment of psychosis were developed in the 1960s.

Sophie Erhardt, a professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Karolinska Institute and the last author of the study, said: “To develop effective modern drugs, more information about the mechanisms in the brain that may trigger psychosis is needed. Knowledge.”

 

 

(source:internet, reference only)


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