Science Daily - Changes in Nerve Cells May Contribute to the Development of Mental Illness

 – November 28, 2012  –– 

Reduced production of myelin, a type of protective nerve fiber that is lost in diseases like multiple sclerosis, may also play a role in the development of mental illness. Published in Nature Neuroscience, the new study led by Patrizia Casaccia, MD, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience, Genetics and Genomics; and Neurology at Mount Sinai, determined that depriving mice of social contact reduced myelin production, demonstrating that the formation of new oligodendrocytes is affected by environmental changes. "We knew that a lack of social interaction early in life impacted myelination in young animals but were unsure if these changes would persist in adulthood," said Dr. Casaccia. "Social isolation of adult mice causes behavioral and structural changes in neurons, but this is the first study to show that it causes myelin dysfunction as well."
- Dr. Patrizia Casaccia, Professor, Neuroscience, Genetics and Genomics; Neurology, Chief of the Center of Excellence for Myelin Repair at the Friedman Brain Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Learn more