Fundraising in action : € 25.000
Amount collected by Venite Cantemus during the organized concert on the 16th to 17th November 2019 at the Opéra Comic. This amount was given to FRM in order to finance Mélanie Druart's thesis. Thesis defence was held on the 25th September. Mélanie Druart is the author of a scientific publication that was featured in a renowned psychiatric journal.
About the research
- Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the world's population.
- It is characterized by hallucinations and delusions, social withdrawal and cognitive impairment.
- Currently, there is insufficient treatment, hence the importance of research into this disorder.
Immune system and schizophrenia: a link suspected for years
Many studies indicate that the immune system plays a role in schizophrenia. It has been known for years that severe prenatal infections predispose to schizophrenia in adolescence. More recently, genetic analyses comparing tens of thousands of schizophrenic patients to as many controls have revealed an association between specific immune genes and schizophrenia. In 2016, researchers showed that certain mutations in the C4 complement gene, a major player in immunity, predispose to schizophrenia. These mutations lead to a stronger expression of the C4 complement. Indeed, in schizophrenic patients, C4 is found in greater quantities than in controls.
A confirmed link between elevated expression of a major immune actor in the brain and schizophrenia
During her PhD, Mélanie Druart, supervised by Corentin le Magueresse, sought to better understand the link between complement C4 and schizophrenia. To this end, she artificially increased the level of C4 in mice during embryonic development, in a region of the brain involved in dysfunctions observed in patients. In these mice she observed a reduction in connections between neurons, as well as alterations in specific neural circuits. As a consequence, information is less well transmitted in the brain. In addition, the researchers showed that certain behaviors, particularly short-term memory, were modified in these mice. This work has made it possible to reproduce in animals cellular mechanisms and behaviors already known in schizophrenic patients, which makes it possible to establish a definite link between immunology - more precisely complement C4 -, the brain and schizophrenia.
These results were obtained by Mélanie Druart during her PhD carried out in Corentin le Magueresse's team at the Institut du Fer à Moulin in Paris.