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Research from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio suggests the exciting possibility of using cell transplants to treat schizophrenia.
Cells called “interneurons” inhibit activity within brain regions, but this braking or governing function is impaired in schizophrenia. Consequently, a group of nerve cells called the dopamine system go into overdrive. Different branches of the dopamine system are involved in cognition, movement and emotions.
“Since these cells are not functioning properly, our idea is to replace them,” said study senior author Daniel Lodge, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology in the School of Medicine.
Researchers discovered that transplanting stem cells into the hippocampus of rats restored functions that are abnormal in schizophrenia. This image shows the location of the hippocampus in the brain.