Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) modulating schizophrenia: a promising target for innovative treatment


Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the population and often requires lifelong treatment. However, currently available treatments can alleviate only a fraction of the symptoms often at the cost of severe side-effects. It is increasingly clear that “one-size matches all” treatment does not exist, as patients respond differently for existing treatments highlighting a need to understand mechanisms what underlie differences between patients groups to enable design of individual treatments. Andressoo team has very recently made substantially progress in that direction by studying how a protein called glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) can influence the disease. By implementing the uncovered mechanism, Andressoo team was able to create an animal model of schizophrenia which in turn allowed identification of a drug which can reverse disease in animal model. This drug is already in clinical use but is used for different purpose. Importantly, compared to the development of new drugs, reprofiling of an existing drug for treating other disease is relatively easy, fast and cost-effective. However, to proceed to clinical trials, better patient characterization, stratification and understanding on the drug action is required. This application brings together clinical experts Dr Peter Falkai (GE), a biotechnology company to create better tests for analysing patient sub-groups (Protobios/ Dr T. Timmusk, EST) and pre-clinical analysis expert (Dr J.O. Andressoo, FI) to build information needed for designing clinical trials in the near future.


Gene targeting in the brain, Computational neurosciences, schizophrenia, Imaging techniques, Pharmacology, Electrophisiological approaches, Behavioural methodologies, (epi)genetic approaches, omics approaches, Animal studies, Patient cohorts, GDNF, dopamine, adenosine, Adora2a, TCF4, CSF, serum, antibodies, istradefylline

Call topic

Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Proposed runtime

n/a - n/a

Project team

Jaan-Olle Andressoo (Coordinator)
Finland (AKA)
Tõnis Timmusk
Estonia (ETAg)
Peter Falkai
Germany (BMBF)