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The implication of neuroinflammation in schizophrenia, sustained by recent genetic evidence, represents one of the most exciting topics in schizophrenia research. Drugs which inhibit microglia activation, especially the classical tetracycline antibiotic minocycline are currently under investigation as alternative antipsychotics. However, recent studies demonstrated that microglia activation is not only a hallmark of neuroinflammation, but plays important roles during brain development.
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Adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus is impaired in schizophrenic patients and in an animal model of schizophrenia. Amongst a plethora of regulators, the immune system has been shown repeatedly to strongly modulate neurogenesis under physiological and pathological conditions. It is well accepted, that schizophrenic patients have an aberrant peripheral immune status, which is also reflected in the animal model.

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Neurogenesis is stimulated following injury to the adult brain and could potentially contribute to tissue repair. However, evidence suggests that microglia activated in response to injury are detrimental to the survival of new neurons, thus limiting the neurogenic response. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of the anti-inflammatory drug minocycline on neurogenesis and functional recovery after a closed head injury model of focal traumatic brain injury (TBI).

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NMDA receptor (NMDAR) antagonists induce in perinatal rodent cortical apoptosis and protracted schizophrenia-like alterations ameliorated by antipsychotic treatment. The broad-spectrum antibiotic minocycline elicits antipsychotic and neuroprotective effects. Here we tested, if minocycline protects also against apoptosis triggered by the NMDAR antagonist MK-801 at postnatal day 7.

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Recent imaging studies have indicated that the pathophysiology of schizophrenia is closely related to white matter abnormalities and microglial activation. Additionally, recent clinical trials have suggested that atypical antipsychotics may have brain protective properties and that minocycline, an antibiotic with inhibitory effects on microglial activation, improves symptoms of schizophrenia. We have reported that not only atypical antipsychotics with dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) antagonism but also aripiprazole, a unique antipsychotic drug with D2R partial agonism, inhibit microglial activation in vitro.

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