Unraveling the Mysteries of Schizophrenia: Insights from Eigenvector Centrality Mapping and Gene Transcription Profiles in Functional Dysconnectivity

Analyzing changes in functional connectivity among individuals with schizophrenia, researchers conducted a study exploring eigenvector centrality mapping (ECM) in the brain and uncovering potential genetic influences on these alterations. Schizophrenia, a mental health condition known for its functional dysconnectivity, was the main focus of the investigation.

The study included two stages: one with 91 patients with schizophrenia and 91 healthy controls, and a replication stage with 153 individuals with schizophrenia and 182 healthy participants. The researchers conducted whole-brain voxel-wise ECM analyses using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data to identify any differences in connectivity patterns between the groups.

The results revealed notable changes in ECM across various brain regions associated with schizophrenia. Particularly, decreased ECM was observed in the bilateral superior and middle temporal gyrus, while increased ECM was found in the bilateral thalamus, consistent in both the discovery and replication stages.

Furthermore, the researchers delved into transcriptional profiles from six postmortem healthy adult brains to explore potential genetic factors underlying the observed functional dysconnectivity in schizophrenia. Through this comprehensive analysis, 420 genes were identified as being associated with changes in ECM, with enrichment in biological processes related to synaptic signaling and transmission.

Overall, the study offers new insights into the neural processes and pathways relevant to schizophrenia. By incorporating genetic data and linking it to functional connectivity changes in the brain, the research sheds light on the complex interplay between genetic factors and neural disruptions in individuals with schizophrenia. This deeper understanding could pave the way for targeted interventions and treatments that address both the genetic and neural aspects of the disorder.

As research in this field progresses, further investigations into the identified genes and their roles in neural processes may provide additional clues about the underlying mechanisms of schizophrenia and avenues for therapeutic development. The study serves as a significant contribution to unraveling the intricate connections between genes, brain function, and mental health disorders like schizophrenia.

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41537-024-00457-1

Postdoctoral position on neurodevelopmental biology

The Biomedical Sciences Research Laboratory at the Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción (UCSC) offers the opportunity to develop postdoctoral research on the field of neurodevelopmental biology.

The research line in which this position is framed involves the study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling the development of the cerebral cortex and their relevance to the origin of neurodevelopmental disorders. Thus, experience on induced pluripotent stem cells biology, animal models, general cellular biology and/or cellular neurophysiology is desirable.

The successful candidate will participate in designing and executing experiments, analyzing data and preparing manuscripts for submission among other tasks related to a postdoctoral position. The position involves working with an interdisciplinary team of basic and clinical scientists using experimental, clinical and bioinformatics approaches. A strong dedication to working in a team is therefore essential.   

Applicants should have a PhD obtained within the last 5 years since the selected applicant will be supported to apply for external funding to the local funding agency in the frame of the upcoming “FONDECYT postdoctorado 2020” initiative. Regardless of that, internal funding allows for sooner starting date. All relevant information and CV can be sent to aavila@ucsc.cl