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 Molecular model of human insulin. (Credit: iStockphoto/Martin McCarthy)

ScienceDaily (June 9, 2010) — Defects in insulin function — which occur in diabetes and obesity — could directly contribute to psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigators have discovered a molecular link between impaired insulin signaling in the brain and schizophrenia-like behaviors in mice. The findings, reported June 8 in PLoS Biology, offer a new perspective on the psychiatric and cognitive disorders that affect patients with diabetes and suggest new strategies for treating these conditions.

“We know that people with diabetes have an increased incidence of mood and other psychiatric disorders,” said endocrinologist Kevin Niswender, M.D., Ph.D. “And we think that those co-morbidities might explain why some patients have trouble taking care of their diabetes.”

“Something goes wrong in the brain because insulin isn’t signaling the way that it normally does,” said neurobiologist Aurelio Galli, Ph.D.

Galli’s group was among the first to show that insulin — the hormone that governs glucose metabolism in the body — also regulates the brain’s supply of dopamine — a neurotransmitter with roles in motor activity, attention and reward. Disrupted dopamine signaling has been implicated in brain disorders including depression, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Read in Full:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608182645.htm



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