4 Spedding and colleagues have cogently argued that a systems-level approach using animal models will lead to more effective Gedatolisib treatment for psychiatric diseases.4 Based on a model which involves specific alterations in hippocampal-cortical circuitry, they propose testing compounds in animals in which these circuits are disrupted by phenycyclidinc (PCP). In support of this systems-level approach, nearly every approved antipsychotic drug will ameliorate PCPinduced alterations in neuronal functioning.37 However, it is also true that drug classes with demonstrated ability
Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical to ameliorate PCP-induced deficits (eg, 5-HT2A antagonists38) are only marginally effective in treating schizophrenia.39-40 Thus, in vivo systems-level screens can be highly effective tools to verify in vivo actions of putative atypical antipsychotic drugs. It Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical does not appear that any of the available in vivo screening models are able to predict relative efficacy at treating schizophrenia, however. In addition, none of the available models appears to adequately recapitulate the entirety of the human phenotype.37 One can easily provide the counterargument that a “suitable animal model will eventually be found which recapitulates the schizophrenia phenotype,” although it is also plausible that “no suitable preclinical model will ever be found which adequately recapitulates schizophrenia,
Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical pathology.” Clearly, despite decades of research we have not yet discovered an adequate preclinical model, and it is within the Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical realm of possibility that “schizophrenia is a uniquely human disease which cannot be adequately modeled in rodents.” In large measure, this is likely to be due to the fact that a number of genetic “hits” as well as nongenomic factors converge Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical to produce the final phenotype in humans.41 At present, we have no way to predict either way, and continued research in this arena will be based more on untested assumptions than on data. Is schizophrenia similar to hypertension in being complex, polygenic, and epigenetic? Another possibility is that schizophrenia represents a complex disease with genetic and epigenetic factors
and which is both chronic and progressive, resulting in irreversible end-organ of damage – similar to hypertension. Indeed, there is accumulating evidence for epigenetic factors involved in the etiology of schizophrenia – particularly relating to reelin.42-45 There has also been abundant evidence accumulated over the past several decades that schizophrenia is associated with subtle but reproducibly documented neurodegeneration (reviewed in refs 46,47). Accordingly, optimal treatment of schizophrenia would be similar to that for other progressive and complex diseases such as hypertension, where individuals at risk would be identified and then treated to avoid end-organ damage. Such an approach has already been attempted, with a mixed degree of success.