Role of polyunsaturated fatty acids and fatty acid binding protein in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia

Motoko Maekawa, Yuji Owada, Takeo Yoshikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental disorder that afflicts about 1% of the population worldwide. Despite intensive, multifaceted research, its exact etiology remains elusive. Epidemiological data shows that when pregnant mothers experienced malnutrition or famine (e.g. the Dutch Hunger Winter of 1994-1945 and the Chinese famine of 1959-1961), the risk of schizophrenia in their children increased by two fold. This fact could be considered in the context of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) or fetal programming. The concept of DOHaD is well referenced in the understanding of adult metabolic diseases, but less so in the field of mental disorders. We will attempt to show how the mechanisms of DOHaD could contribute at least in part to schizophrenia pathogenesis. Resonating with this concept, we introduce mainly our data showing increased expression of genes for fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) in the postmortem brains from patients with schizophrenia and the beneficial effect conferred by the administration of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) during the early developmental period of rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-175
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jan
Externally publishedYes


  • Endophenotype
  • FABP7
  • Gene expression
  • Genetic association
  • Postmortem brain
  • Prepulse inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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