The Nose Knows Schizophrenia

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Collecting tissue samples from the nose during a simple biopsy may lead to better diagnosis of schizophrenia, new research suggests.

A small study showed that all 7 of the initial participants with schizophrenia had significantly elevated microRNA (miRNA) expression in their olfactory cells compared with the 7 participants who did not have the disorder.

Further analysis of samples captured by laser microdissecion from a cohort of 36 participants showed that the same elevated brain-enriched expression in miR-382 was found in those with schizophrenia vs those without.

“The take-home message for clinicians is that molecular markers are terrific potential candidates for complex disorders, such as those involving psychiatric symptoms,” senior author Noam Shomron, PhD, from the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at Tel Aviv University in Israel, told Medscape Medical News.

“Further research is needed to substantiate our findings and to pinpoint whether our markers are cause or causative in this disease,” added Dr. Shomron.

Still, the investigators note that the results illustrate “the potential utility” of tissues and cells from the olfactory epithelium (OE) “as surrogate samples for the brain.”

by Deborah Brauser, Medscape

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