Scientists from Nagoya University have found that a vasodilator drug used in stroke patients can alleviate the symptoms of schizophrenia. The study is published in the journal Pharmacological Research .
Previously, other studies have shown that copy number variations in the ARHGAP10 gene are associated with symptoms of schizophrenia. ARHGAP10 encodes a protein that is involved in the regulation of the RhoA substance. Some studies have suggested that RhoA could be a target for anti-schizophrenia drugs.
Scientists have obtained model mice with mutations in the ARHGAP10 gene. The animals exhibited symptoms characteristic of patients with schizophrenia. One of them is shortening and destabilization of dendritic processes. The mice were given the drug fasudil, which slows down the work of the ROCK enzyme, the “helper” of RhoA.
The treatment restored the density of pyramidal neurons and spines in the medial prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with attention and long-term memory. In addition, the mice had reduced symptoms of schizophrenia.
The authors believe that fasudil or ROCK inhibitors may become therapeutic drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia in the future.