Application of olfactory tissue and its neural progenitors to schizophrenia and psychiatric research

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Purpose of review

The goal of this review article is to introduce olfactory epithelium-derived cell/tissue models as a promising surrogate system to study the molecular mechanisms implicated in schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Here, we particularly focus on the utility of their neural progenitors.

Recent findings

Recent investigations of the pathophysiology of schizophrenia using olfactory epithelium-derived tissue/cell models have provided insights about schizophrenia-associated alterations in neurodevelopment, stress response, and gene/protein expression regulatory pathways.


The olfactory epithelium retains the capacity for lifelong neurogenesis and regeneration, because of the presence of neural stem cells and progenitors. Thus, both mature neurons and neural progenitors can be obtained from the olfactory epithelium without the need for genetic reprogramming and related confounds. Furthermore, the olfactory epithelium is highly scalable resource in translational settings. Here, we also demonstrate recent findings from research using olfactory epithelium-derived tissue/cell models in schizophrenia and other brain disorders. In summary, we propose that the olfactory epithelium is a promising resource to study neural molecular and cellular signatures relevant to the pathology of schizophrenia and other mental disorders.

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