Dr. Cate Fenster, a visiting assistant professor of biology/toxicology, was the leading author on an article recently published in Brain Research Bulletin, an international peer-reviewed scientific journal. The article, entitled "Acute neuregulin-1 signaling influences AMPA receptor mediated responses in cultured cerebellar granule neurons", summarized a collaborative study conducted at the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology located at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. Contributing authors on the paper include NIH senior investigator, Dr. Andres Buonanno, and Dr. Detloff Vullhorst, also of the NIH.
Neuregulin-1 is a growth factor important for normal brain development and function. Alterations in the gene that encodes for neuregulin-1 are associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Recent studies show that neuregulin-1 regulates the function of specific brain circuits that are abnormal in individuals with schizophrenia. Cate's work has implications for understanding how neuregulin-1 affects the function of these brain circuits and how these circuits become altered in schizophrenia.