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N-Acetylaspartate and Schizophrenia

Professor Daniel Weinberger discusses the role played by the biochemical N-Acetylaspartate in schizophrenia.
There have been other chemicals that have been measured using neuroimaging techniques. One of the chemicals that we’ve been particularly interested in is a chemical called N-Acetylaspartate which is an amino acid found within nerve cells within neurons in the brain that seems to tell us something about how actively these nerve cells are working. By working, I mean how many synapses they have and how much synaptic activity they have. Synapses are the contacts that nerve cells make with each other and the more contacts a nerve cell has, presumably the more it is involved in the exchange of information, and the more that leads to complex behavior. So, the evidence seems to be that, at least in the hippocampus (an area where there’s evidence of problems in schizophrenia), the concentrations of N-Acetylaspartate are reduced. Whether this is a primary cause or something that really is going along for the ride because there is a problem there, we don’t know for sure yet.
schizophrenia, chemical, neurochemical, biochemical, brain, hippocampus, daniel, weinberger
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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