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Research team

Experimental Neuropsychiatry

About this team

Presentation

Experimental Neuropsychiatry Research was established in 2004, at Örebro University. The aim was to study the mechanisms of cellular membrane transport of the amino acid tyrosine and tryptophan in schizophrenia and related neuropsychiatric disorders such as bipolar, autism and ADHD. Tyrosine and tryptophan are the precursors of dopamine and serotonin, the brain's most important neurotransmitters, necessary for central nervous system.

Previous research

In a series of studies using the fibroblast cell model,our research group have found an aberrant amino acid transport in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism and ADHD (see publications). These transport aberrations may imply that there is a limited access or an imbalance of essential amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan in the brain, which could lead to disturbances in central neurotransmitters systems. Dopamine and serotonin are the key neurotransmitters in the brain, are powerful regulators in different aspects of cognitive functions and alterations in dopaminergic and serotonergic activity may lead to cognitive and behavioural impairment.

Current working plan and strategies

In recent decades, several research studies have emphasized the importance of elevated, pro-inflammatory cytokines and the impact of oxidative stress with respect to the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders, especially depression. It has also been shown that lifestyle factors and probiotics (short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate) can influence mood, and cognitive behavioural patterns in humans. However, there are no studies done on how the above factors affect the transport of the important precursor’s tyrosine and tryptophan into the brain.

Actual focus of research

  • To explore the role and regulatory mechanisms of proinflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress and lifestyle factors in neuropsychiatric disorders: identifying biomarkers and treatment strategies.

  • To explore the mechanisms of action of Lithium and Clozapine (not fully understood yet) in bipolar disorder for to prevent periodic mania and depression and try to develop treatment strategies using patient fibroblasts as a cellular model.

Internal & external collaborations

The group is closely affiliated with the Nutrition-Gut-Brain Interactions Research Centre (NGBI) at Örebro University, and University Hospital Örebro, Region Örebro County. The group has also extensive national and international collaboration with e.g., Karolinska Institute, University Medical Center Groningen (Netherlands), and National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens (Greece).

Research funding bodies