In a new study presented at the Congress of the Schizophrenia International Research Society 2020, researchers have evaluated a novel compound that targets potassium channels in brain interneurons, which not only improves gamma oscillations in patients with schizophrenia but also their symptoms.
The study included two dozen men with schizophrenia, the AUT00206 compound was compared with placebo. The investigators note that targeting a potassium channel linked to brain gamma oscillations may offer a novel way to treat schizophrenia.
The investigators hypothesized that the brain may be more “plastic” earlier on in the disease course, and that there may be an opportunity to intervene and make changes.
Patients with schizophrenia have abnormalities in both their resting state and induced and evolved gamma oscillations. Previous studies have suggested an alteration in parvalbumin-expressing interneurons (PVINs) found in cortical and subcortical circuits.
Also, Kv3.1 potassium channels expressed on PVINs are integral to establishing and maintaining fast-firing activity and network synchronization in the brain, and they might offer a potential therapeutic approach.
The participants had been diagnosed less than 5 years previously and were stable on a maximum of 2 antipsychotic medications. They were randomly assigned to receive 2,000 mg of AUT00206 on day 1 and 800 mg twice daily for 27 days or a placebo.
The researchers found that early auditory gamma responses were increased at day 28 in the patients receiving the novel compound and not in those who received a placebo.
Liam Davenport. (2022, Apr 12). Brain Gamma Oscillations: A Novel Target in Schizophrenia? Medscape. Retrieved from: