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cDNA arrays analyses in an animal model for psychosis-related traits
The psychotomimetic effects of noncompetitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists such as PCP and ketamine in healthy humans and their ability to exacerbate several psychotic symptoms in schizophrenic patients have promoted a view of schizophrenia as being related to an altered glutamatergic neurotransmission. Attempts to mimic these effects in rats has lead to the recognition of parallels between schizophrenia and molecular, cellular, functional and behavioral abnormalities in animals chronically treated with NMDA receptor antagonist MK801 in a low dosage.
In order to identify candidate genes contributing to schizophrenia we performed cDNA arrays analyses comparing the expression of 1175 genes between MK801 treated rats and saline treated controls in two brain regions. We found several genes to be differentially expressed in cortex and in cerebellum. Validation experiments by RT-PCR are under way. These findings demonstrate that a functional genomics approach can be applied in the identification of new and unexpected candidate genes for psychosis-related traits.