Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Research Tools
Research Tools
Rat Model of Schizophrenia for Research and Preclinical Study
WARF: P160418US01

Inventors: John-Paul Yu, Clifford Rubinstein

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing the first animal model of schizophrenia that features a true germline knockout of Disc1, a gene known to play a significant role in the disease process.
Schizophrenia is a complex neuropsychiatric disease afflicting up to 1 percent of the worldwide population. It affects perception, behavior and thinking and can have devastating social ramifications. Despite recent advances in brain imaging, the biochemical and genetic features of schizophrenia remain frustratingly opaque.

One problem is that the field lacks a true animal model of schizophrenia that fully recapitulates the genetic features of the disease. Human postmortem studies, while insightful, are confounded by treatment change, drug intervention and environmental influences, all of which likely contribute to the inconsistencies reported in the literature.
The Invention
UW–Madison researchers have used a CRISPR/Cas9 approach to create several animal lines with deletions in exons 2/3 of Disc1, which has been identified as a significant candidate susceptibility gene in schizophrenia. Therefore the new model provides an exciting opportunity to explore the impact of this well-known de novo genetic variant on the structural and developmental features of the disease.
  • Useful as a research tool or ultimately for preclinical therapeutic studies
  • May be used and distributed as a biomaterial
Key Benefits
  • First ever animal model of its kind
  • Rats are a better model for neuropsychiatric disease than mice given their behavioral range.
Stage of Development
All of the knockdown variants are alive and none express Disc1. The researchers plan to test the behavioral and molecular traits of the new model and have established collaborations on campus to facilitate studies under various conditions.
Additional Information
For More Information About the Inventors
For current licensing status, please contact Jennifer Gottwald at [javascript protected email address] or 608-960-9854