Faults in in blood vessels in the brain may play a major role in the development of schizophrenia, a condition which affects about 1 per cent of Irish people.
That’s according to new research from scientists at at TCD and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) published in Molecular Psychiatry.
The network of blood vessels in the brain regulates the transport of energy and materials in and out of the brain, moving across the blood-brain barrier (BBB).
Abnormalities in the BBB may be a critical factor in the development of schizophrenia and other brain disorders, the Ireland-based researchers report.
“Our recent findings have, for the first time, suggested that schizophrenia is a brain disorder associated with abnormalities of brain blood vessels,” said Dr Matthew Campbell, Assistant Professor of Neurovascular Genetics at TCD.
“The concept of tailoring drugs to regulate and treat abnormal brain vessels is a novel treatment strategy and offers great potential to complement existing treatments of this debilitating disease,” said Dr Campbell.
“While it is very well accepted that improving cardiovascular health can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks, we now believe that drugs aimed at improving cardiovascular health may be an additional strategy to treating brain diseases in the future,” Dr Campbell added.