Vitamin D deficiency alters dopaminergic neuron differentiation in schizophrenia

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Neuroscientists at The University of Queensland have uncovered how vitamin D deficiency affects developing neurons in schizophrenia, using new technology.
Professor Eyles has followed the mechanisms that might relate to abnormal dopamine release and discovered that maternal vitamin D deficiency affects the early development and later differentiation of dopaminergic neurons.
They cultured the neurons both in the presence and absence of the active vitamin D hormone.
They then showed alterations in the distribution of presynaptic proteins responsible for dopamine release within these neurites.
“This is conclusive evidence that vitamin D affects the structural differentiation of dopaminergic neurons.” Leveraging advances in targeting and visualising single molecules within presynaptic nerve terminals has enabled Professor Eyles and his team to further explore their long-standing belief that maternal vitamin D deficiency changes how early dopaminergic circuits are formed.

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