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World J Stem Cells. Mar 26, 2022; 14(3): 219-230
Published online Mar 26, 2022. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v14.i3.219
Adult neural stem cells and schizophrenia
Ling Hu, Lei Zhang
Ling Hu, Department of Laboratory Animal Science and Institutes of Brain Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China
Lei Zhang, Shanghai Yangzhi Rehabilitation Hospital (Shanghai Sunshine Rehabilitation Center) and Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200092, China
Author contributions: Hu L and Zhang L wrote the manuscript and prepared the table.
Supported by Shanghai Pujiang Program, No. 20PJ1413300.
Conflict-of-interest statement: Authors declare no conflict of interests for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Lei Zhang, PhD, Associate Professor, Shanghai Yangzhi Rehabilitation Hospital (Shanghai Sunshine Rehabilitation Center) and Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Tongji University School of Medicine, No. 1239 Siping Road, Shanghai 200092, China.
Received: April 6, 2021
Peer-review started: April 6, 2021
First decision: June 5, 2021
Revised: June 18, 2021
Accepted: March 7, 2022
Article in press: March 7, 2022
Published online: March 26, 2022

Schizophrenia (SCZ) is a devastating and complicated mental disorder accompanied by variable positive and negative symptoms and cognitive deficits. Although many genetic risk factors have been identified, SCZ is also considered as a neurodevelopmental disorder. Elucidation of the pathogenesis and the development of treatment is challenging because complex interactions occur between these genetic risk factors and environment in essential neurodevelopmental processes. Adult neural stem cells share a lot of similarities with embryonic neural stem cells and provide a promising model for studying neuronal development in adulthood. These adult neural stem cells also play an important role in cognitive functions including temporal and spatial memory encoding and context discrimination, which have been shown to be closely linked with many psychiatric disorders, such as SCZ. Here in this review, we focus on the SCZ risk genes and the key components in related signaling pathways in adult hippocampal neural stem cells and summarize their roles in adult neurogenesis and animal behaviors. We hope that this would be helpful for the understanding of the contribution of dysregulated adult neural stem cells in the pathogenesis of SCZ and for the identification of potential therapeutic targets, which could facilitate the development of novel medication and treatment.

Keywords: Neural stem cells, Adult hippocampal neurogenesis, Schizophrenia, Risk genes, Signaling pathways, Behavior

Core Tip: This review focuses on the role of schizophrenia risk genes and related signaling pathways in adult hippocampal neurogenesis, which has been shown to play an essential role in many psychiatric disorders. We summarize the outcome of adult neural stem cells and animal behavior when these risk genes or the key components in related signaling pathways are dysregulated. We hope this will shed light on the elusive pathogenesis of schizophrenia.