Study published in the journal Scientific Reports points out ways to treat schizophrenia FCMSCSP Group Work demonstrates the importance of mitochondria for brain function

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The group Epigenetics and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Neural Disorders (, under the responsibility of Profa. Dr. Tatiana Rosado Rosenstock, from the Santa Casa de Sao Paulo School of Medical Sciences (FCMSCSP), with the assistance of FAPESP ( and FAP (Research Support Fund) of Santa Casa (, published, last December, an article in the Scientific Reports magazine about the implication of mitochondrial function and hypoxia for Schizophrenia.

Research by Dr. Tatiana and her group revealed that astrocytes, one of the most abundant cell types in the brain (neurons represent, on average, 10% of all cells), when subjected to hypoxia (neonatal, chemical and gaseous) , showed alterations in calcium homeostasis and mitochondrial membrane potential, in addition to an increase in oxidative stress.

As mitochondria are extremely important organelles for maintaining energy levels, these dysfunctions have been shown to be responsible for the decrease in energy compounds, such as ATP. Interestingly, hypoxia and mitochondrial dysfunction were able, simultaneously, to increase the amount of mitochondria, as in an attempt to keep the cells already affected functioning.

Thus, considering that Schizophrenia is a multifactorial mental disorder that is associated with several environmental factors, such as hypoxia, and that different neural mechanisms depend on energy (specifically ATP), the maintenance of mitochondrial metabolism becomes essential to avoid it .

“In this sense, the use of the animal model of neonatal hypoxia, spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR), animals that mimic various behavioral characteristics of Schizophrenia, was of great importance to reach the conclusion of our study”, explains Professor Tatiana.

“With that, our work demonstrated not only the importance of mitochondria for the functioning of the brain and its relationship with Schizophrenia, but the real role of astrocytes. In this way, we hope that future studies with pharmacological agents that increase mitochondrial function will be carried out, in order to become possible co-adjuvants in the treatment of Schizophrenia ”, she adds.

The article is titled “Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Changes in High-Energy Compounds in Different Cellular Models Associated with Hypoxia: Implication to Schizophrenia”. References: Silva LFS, Brito MD, Yuzawa JMC, Rosenstock TR. Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 2; 9 (1): 18049. doi: 10.1038 / s41598-019-53605-4. Access:

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