Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have identified a link between schizophrenia and the internal clock. People with the disease show abnormalities in the genes that regulate our sense of time.
The discovery could help us better understand how the disease develops and therefore how to fight it. Many of our bodily functions depend on an internal 24-hour clock, the circadian cycle. This cycle also regulates the expression of some genes within certain cells.
The clock helps to turn off or turn on the genes in question, depending on whether it is night or day. According to the authors of the study, the mechanism would not work in people with schizophrenia. To prove it, they analyzed the gene expression of 46 schizophrenic and 46 healthy people.
Researchers analyzed the gene expression of cells in the prefrontal cortex, the area responsible for memory and cognitive faculties. At this point, they combined the information collected with data as the time of death. In this way, scientists determined the changes in the internal rhythm of different genes. This revealed some interesting patterns. The analyzes revealed anomalies in the gene expression of some cells, which influenced the entire functioning of the brain.
The phenomenon could cause inflammation in some areas of the brain, with repercussions on the symptoms related to the disease. Above all, it could clarify some obscure points of the disease, still little understood and therefore difficult to cure.