Schizophrenia

The late-adolescent onset of psychiatric and addiction-related syndromes is strongly linked to the sensitive period of prefrontal cortex (frontal lobe) maturation during adolescence. However, the neurodevelopmental processes that determine this vulnerability are currently unknown. Among the different neurotransmitter candidates thought to confer predisposition to the adolescent liability, the brain CB1 cannabinoid receptor, which mediates the psychoactive effects of marihuana (cannabis), is of particular interest due to recent studies showing that marihuana abuse during adolescence significantly increase the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. Interestingly, CB1 receptors are highly expressed in the prefrontal cortex. What is missing is the mechanistic link between the effects of repeated cannabinoid exposure during adolescence and the development of prefrontal cortex dysfunction. Thus, the goal of Dr. Tseng’s study is to establish such a mechanistic link by determining whether repeated activation of the CB1 receptor limited to the adolescent period is sufficient to impair the normal maturation of the prefrontal cortex network, and its association with prefrontal-related behavioral deficits in adulthood.

Other Grants

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The Role of Microglial Lysosomes in Selective Neuronal Vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the Nervous System Constructs Internal Models of the External World
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the Orchestra of Movement—Functional Role of Striatal Astrocytes in Health and Disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…