PiN Faculty Member - Sabina Berretta, PhD

Sabina Berretta, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry

McLean Hospital
MRC3 - Mailstop 149
115 Mill Street
Belmont, MA 02478
Tel: 617-855-3484
Fax: 617-855-3850
Visit my lab page here.

Research in the Translational Neuroscience Lab. is focused on the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In particular, we are investigating the contribution of extracellular matrix abnormalities, and their interaction with neuronal and glial cell populations, in the pathophysiology of these disorders. A combination of postmortem human investigations on brain regions including the medial temporal lobe, thalamus, olfactory system and orbitofrontal cortex and in vitro studies are aimed at testing the hypothesis that molecular pathways regulating one of the main extracellular matrix components, i.e. chondroitin sulfate proteloglycans (CSPGs), may be altered in schizophrenia, causing CSPG accumulation in astrocytes and abnormal CSPG expression in extracellular matrix perineuronal aggregates. A component of these investigations is dedicated to link postmortem and in vitro studies with clinical manifestations of major psychoses. Toward this goal, a translational approach is designed to integrate in vitro on biopsy-derived cell lines and clinical investigations on healthy control, schizophrenic and bipolar disorder subjects. Its suitability to this particular model depends on the potential occurrence of CSPG abnormalities in olfactory epithelium and skin fibroblasts in schizophrenia, with a pattern consistent with that detected in the medial temporal lobe. Accessibility by biopsy allows clinical testing in donors as well as in vitro experimentation. Coordinated postmortem and biopsy investigations are designed to test hypotheses on which molecules regulating CSPG expression are altered in schizophrenia, while in vitro studies focus on the mechanisms by which these molecules may cause CSPG abnormalities. The main hypothesis tested is that extracellular matrix abnormalities affecting the olfactory system in schizophrenia may be associated with specific olfactory deficits and core negative symptoms.

Last Update: 3/23/2015


For a complete listing of publications click here.



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