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The Origins of Schizophrenia$
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Alan Brown and Paul Patterson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231151245

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231151245.001.0001

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Animal Models of Prenatal Protein Malnutrition Relevant for Schizophrenia

Animal Models of Prenatal Protein Malnutrition Relevant for Schizophrenia

(p.300) Chapter 12 Animal Models of Prenatal Protein Malnutrition Relevant for Schizophrenia
The Origins of Schizophrenia

Lisa M. Tarantino

Teresa M. Reyes

Abraham A. Palmer

Columbia University Press

This chapter presents animal models for prenatal protein malnutrition to discuss its relevance to schizophrenia. Protein deprivation during fetal development causes lasting changes in brain regions implicated in learning and memory. Also, the lack of protein during that period may result in behavioral, structural, and neurochemical changes in adulthood that mimic many of the characteristics of psychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia. Animal models have been used extensively to study the effects of protein malnutrition. One of the simplest assessments of sensory and cognitive development is the homing test, in which suckling animals are tested for their ability to locate the nest after displacement. Data consistently shows that protein-malnourished animals do not have the ability to return to their nest. Moreover, protein deprivation in utero or during the suckling period causes significant hippocampal alterations, including long-term potentiation deficits.

Keywords:   animal models, protein, schizophrenia, hippocampal, displacement

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