Schizophrenia is the most severe and debilitating mental illness among the psychiatric disorders. It's a complex disease characterized by alterations in multiple susceptibility genes, which possibly act together with epigenetic and environmental processes. The current project aims to investigate gene expression of candidate genes for the development of schizophrenia and/or the response to pharmacological treatment. Moreover, we aim to evaluate miRNAs levels to investigate a possible epigenetic regulation of the genes evaluated in this project and others described in literature, as well as investigate the role of miRNA in treatment resistant schizophrenia (TRS). Eighty patients being treated with antipsychotics will be evaluated, 40 of them are responders to treatment (non-TRS), and the other 40 are nonresponders (TRS). Peripheral blood samples will be collected from all subjects and RNA will be extracted from white blood cells. Gene expression will be performed with PCR array and will investigate 28 genes involved in neurodevelopment, myelination, neuroplasticity and neurotransmission. Simultaneously, miRNA levels will be quantified in patients non-TRS and TRS using a commercial plate with 84 miRNAs sequences, related to neurodevelopment and neurotransmission. The miRNAs investigation on response to pharmacological treatment of schizophrenia will provide new data on literature, and the results may provide a more effective treatment of schizophrenia, as well as a decrease on time of non-treated cases.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: