Genes linked to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder
Broad sweeps of the human genome have exposed genetic mutations that boost the risk of the devastating yet baffling diseases of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to two studies published Sunday.
The independent studies, each conducted by a consortium of about 200 scientists, also found significant genetic overlap between the debilitating mental disorders.
Schizophrenia patients typically hear voices that are not real, tend toward paranoia and suffer from disorganized speech and thinking. The condition is thought to affect about one percent of adults worldwide.
Previously known as manic depression, bipolar disorder is characterised by hard-to-control mood swings that veer back-and-forth between depression and euphoria, and afflicts a similar percentage of the population.
The biological profile of both conditions remain almost entirely unknown. Doctors seek to hold them in check with powerful drugs.
Scientists have long observed that each syndromes tends to run in families, suggesting a powerful inherited component.
But early hopes of finding a single-gene culprit swiftly faded, giving way to the realisation that -- to the extent DNA is at fault -- blame is probably spread across dozens, maybe even hundreds of DNA variants.
Genome-wide comparisons made possible by gains in computing power involve sweeps of tens of thousands of individual genetic codes from patients and otherwise healthy counterparts.
But so far only a handful of suspects have been found that, at best, account for about 30 percent of the heritable component of schizophrenia.
Nailing down genetic drivers is made even harder by uncertainty as to whether schizophrenia and bipolar -- defined by a varying constellation of symptoms -- are single or multiple diseases.
In one of the largest gene sweeps so far, Pablo Gejman of the University of Chicago and colleagues worldwide started by reviewing 17 earlier efforts involving nearly 22,000 people, just under half of them schizophrenia patients.
The so-called meta-study unearthed seven genetic variants, five of them new.
One in particular -- known as rs1625579 -- plays a key role in regulating brain cells.
To substantiate the results, published in Nature Genetics, the scientists duplicated the genome search with nearly 30,000 other individuals.
For the study on bipolar disorder, also appearing in Nature Genetics, a team led by Pamela Sklar of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York first looked at the genomes of 7,481 patients and 9,250 healthy individuals.
A second sweep focusing on 34 DNA suspects involved some 2,500 other patients and 42,500 controls.
The study confirmed a significant link with a gene, CACNA1C, that also has been previously associated with schizophrenia.
It also uncovered a new gene variant at another location, known as ODZ4, that suggests neurochemical channels in the brain activated by calcium play a role in boosting the risk of developing the disease.
For both studies, scientists hope that learning more about pathways in the brain affected by the diseases can lead to a better understanding of the causes and drugs to ease or block the symptoms.
(c) 2011 AFP
- Study shows that a combination of common genetic variations can lead to schizophrenia Jul 01, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Scientists identify susceptibility factor for bipolar disorder Mar 03, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- A genetic variant increases the risk of developing schizophrenia in women Feb 15, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Gene with possible link to schizophrenia identified Feb 27, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Genetic clues hold key to schizophrenia treatment Mar 20, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Northwestern University scientists have shown a gene involved in neurodegenerative disease also plays a critical role in the proper function of the circadian clock.
Genetics May 16, 2013 | 3 / 5 (1) | 1 |
Informed consent is the backbone of patient care. Genetic testing has long required patient consent and patients have had a "right not to know" the results. However, as 21st century medicine now begins to use the tools of ...
Genetics May 16, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 3 |
Ethicists provide framework supporting new recommendations on reporting incidental findings in gene sequencing
In a paper published in Science Express, a group of experts led by bioethicists in the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine provide a framework for the new American College of Medical Geneti ...
Genetics May 16, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
The use of genome-wide analysis (GWA), where the entirety of an individual's DNA is examined to look for the genomic mutations or variants which can cause health problems is a massively useful technology for diagnosing disease. ...
Genetics May 16, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
DNA databases might help identify victims of crime and human trafficking, but how do we safeguard the personal privacy of innocent victims and family members? A new report online May 15 in the Cell Press journal Trends in ...
Genetics May 15, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
A novel study reports that white men and women of European descent inherit common foot disorders, such as bunions (hallux valgus) and lesser toe deformities, including hammer or claw toe. Findings from the Framingham Foot ...
37 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Whole-cell pertussis vaccines were more effective at protecting against pertussis than acellular pertussis vaccines during a large recent outbreak, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published in Pediatrics.
23 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Optimal treatment of sleep apnea in patients with prediabetes improves blood sugar (glucose) levels and thus can reduce cardiometabolic risk, according to a study to be presented at the ATS 2013 International Conference in ...
9 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Touted for safety, ease and patient convenience, peripherally inserted central catheters have become many clinicians' go-to for IV delivery of antibiotics, nutrition, chemotherapy, and other medications.
45 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have developed a promising method to distinguish between pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis—two disorders that are difficult to tell apart. A molecular marker obtained from pancreatic ...
29 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
A new measure of the heterogeneity – the variety of genetic mutations – of cells within a tumor appears to predict treatment outcomes of patients with the most common type of head and neck cancer. In the May 20 issue ...
9 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0