The most prominent characteristics of schizophrenia – the so called ‘positive symptoms’ - include hallucinations and delusions, and are linked to how the brain chemical dopamine is regulated. Medication typically blocks dopamine activity, but in a very non-specific way, like a sledgehammer knocks down a wall. Studies on rat brain can help to better understand the fine-tuning of the system. Here pictured are false-coloured dopaminergic neurons from rat brain. A recent study showed that transplanting healthy brain cells into a rat model of schizophrenia helped to reduce hyperactivity in the dopamine system, which could lessen the positive symptoms.
Written by Brona McVittie
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