How a risk gene for schizophrenia affects the brain

How a risk gene for schizophrenia affects the brain

Scientists have for the first time shown how the disruption of a key gene involved in mental illness impacts on the brain.

The discovery could be used in the future to help develop psychiatric drugs.

The DISC1 gene is a risk factor for a number of major , including schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder.

Brain imaging studies have already revealed that these illnesses involve alterations in both the structure and connectivity of the brain.

Genetic studies of several generations of one Scottish family affected by these have revealed these are connected to the of the DISC1 gene, though it is not clear how.

For the first time, neuroscientists have shown that the disruption of this key risk gene significantly modifies the organisation of functional brain networks.

Lead researcher Dr Neil Dawson from Lancaster University said: "Our data strongly suggest that disruption of DISC1 is a key molecular event that can contribute to the emergence of disease-relevant alterations in brain function".

"Through these studies we have been able to define deficits in brain function and functional connectivity that result from the disruption of DISC1 and are relevant to a range of psychiatric disorders."

He said these included schizophrenia-related alterations in , functional brain network connectivity and the functioning of the glutamate neurotransmitter system.

These findings parallel alterations seen in the brains of schizophrenia patients and could pave the way towards the development of new drug treatments.

The research is published in Nature's Translational Psychiatry.


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Researchers link two biological risk factors for schizophrenia

More information: "Altered functional brain network connectivity and glutamate system function in transgenic mice expressing truncated Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1." Translational Psychiatry (2015) 5, e569; DOI: 10.1038/tp.2015.60
Journal information: Translational Psychiatry , Nature

Citation: How a risk gene for schizophrenia affects the brain (2015, May 25) retrieved 23 July 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-05-gene-schizophrenia-affects-brain.html
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May 25, 2015
Any word on a cure yet? Most of us that have this at my age (most commit suicide before my age)are either hopeless drug addicts or are locked up. Very few make it to my age.
Very few of us figure out as I have that the hallucinations are not real and tell lies.

May 25, 2015
Why not just accept that you are unique and different. My daughter has this "disease" , so I empathize with your situation. Perhaps we give power to our illusions that truly don't exist. The key is to accept such interruptions in thought as just that. Interupptions, like those of a child interjecting into adults talking to seek attention. Love yourself for who you are and you will find that you never needed a cure in the first place.

Jul 23, 2015
Any word on a cure yet? Most of us that have this at my age (most commit suicide before my age)are either hopeless drug addicts or are locked up. Very few make it to my age.
Very few of us figure out as I have that the hallucinations are not real and tell lies.

Yes there has always been a cure. These delusional psychotic disorders are almost always caused by heavy metal intoxication. Lead, aluminum, mercury and more are very toxic. Lead in particular is known to cause schizo. Heavy metal chelation is the process in which the toxins are removed for a recovery. The heavy metals remain inside of your body in the place of minerals for life. Heavy metal chelation uses chlorella, cilantro, alfalfa, msm, nac, apple pectin, beta alanine, vit c, onions, garlic etc all have chelation properties which is scientifically documented. However, medical doctors cannot make money prescribing nutritional supplements-this is why there will never be a cure, by the dr. There has always been one.

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