News Releases & Research Results Lowered levels of a particular lipid in the brain of patients with schizophrenia: A new perspective for drug discovery

News Releases & Research Results


The results of international collaborative research conducted by Research Scientist Kayoko Esaki and Laboratory Head Takeo Yoshikawa of the Laboratory of Molecular Psychiatry, RIKEN Center for Brain Science, and Professor Brian Dean of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health (Australia), and others.

The key results of research are as follows:

  • The research group discovered that the levels of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P)*1 , a sphingolipid that is an important signaling molecule, are lowered in the white matter *2 in patients with schizophrenia.
    *1: A kind of sphingolipids, which are complex lipids, known as a bioactive signaling molecule
    *2: Areas in the central nervous system mainly consisting of myelinated nerve fibers
  • Specifically, the research group performed comprehensive mass spectrometry-based analysis of sphingolipids from the frontal lobe and corpus callosum of postmortem brain samples from patients with schizophrenia, and found that the S1P levels were significantly lowered in their corpus callosum as compared with the controls. 
  • These results should provide a new perspective for the discovery of schizophrenia drugs targeting S1P metabolism or S1P receptors.

This research project was conducted with the support of the Advanced Research and Development Programs for Medical Innovation (AMED-CREST) by AMED.

The results of research were published in Schizophrenia Bulletin, a scientific journal, on April 29.



Last updated 04/29/20