The results obtained with a group of adolescent animals suggest that preventive treatment of the disease may be possible in future for young people considered at risk owing to cases of schizophrenia in their family history -- 15% to 30% of risk cases develop the disease later in life.
The research was supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation -- FAPESP. The principal investigator was Vanessa Costhek Abílio, a professor in the Pharmacology Department of UNIFESP's Medical School (Escola Paulista de Medicina). The findings have been published in the journal CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics.
Treatment - Children - Development - Schizophrenia - Adulthood
"What if we could develop a safe preventive treatment for these children so as to avert development of schizophrenia in adulthood?" Abílio wondered. Schizophrenia is an incurable neuropsychiatric disorder that typically develops in late adolescence or early adulthood.
Sodium nitroprusside is a salt that acts as a significant donor of nitric oxide, a powerful vasodilator. For this reason, it has been prescribed since the 1920s for severe hypertension. More recently, evidence has been found that it might also benefit patients with schizophrenia. (read about it further in this article).
Experiment - Rats - Alterations - Rats - Strain
The experiment used rats that spontaneously become hypertensive and also display behavioral alterations. These rats belong to a strain selected in Japan in the 1960s and used since then in animal models of hypertension and cardiovascular problems.
"In 2007, we began performing studies to show that rats of this strain display cognitive problems, poor social interaction and hyperlocomotion -- behavioral alterations that model the symptoms of schizophrenia. Our goal was to demonstrate this similarity so that spontaneously hypertensive rats could be used to study schizophrenia," Abílio said.
Investigation - Sodium - Nitroprusside - Effects - Rats
Thus, the investigation of sodium nitroprusside's preventive effects in rats was only made possible when researchers were able to identify in animal model traces from schizophrenia's three categories of symptoms.
Agitated body movements, thought disorders, hallucinations and...
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