Scientists locate schizophrenia gene!!
March 20, 2007 9:35pm CST
As I reported on an Autism discussion a few weeks back, I thought this report was worth noting too:The key to schizophrenia may be found in a gene region thought to play a role in inflammation and autoimmune disorders. If confirmed, the finding could lead to a test and possibly new treatments for the mental disorder that affects about 1 percent of the world's population, US researchers said. Schizophrenia, a disease marked by distorted thinking, hallucinations and reduced ability to feel normal emotions, has long been associated with heredity. But the link to inflammation might help explain why many patients with schizophrenia have autoimmune diseases. In a study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry scientists used a research technique called whole genome association to search the entire human genome of 178 patients with schizophrenia and 144 healthy volunteers. Of 500,000 genetic variants studied, researchers zeroed in on a gene near the tip of both the X and Y chromosomes, which determine gender. "That is a region that had not been looked at in schizophrenia so much," said Todd Lencz, an investigator at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York, and lead author of the study. Mr Lencz said the variant was located near genes that produce receptors for two cytokines, which are involved in the body's response to infection and may play a role in the brain's response to injury. Receptors are molecular doorways that cytokines use to attach to cells. Cytokines are immune system signaling chemicals and their production is a first step in causing inflammation. Mr Lencz and colleagues using gene sequencing technology on a separate group of 71 schizophrenia patients and 31 healthy volunteers. That study turned up multiple gene abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia that were not found, or were found less often, in healthy patients. Peter McGuffin, a professor of psychiatric genetics at Kings College London in Britain, said the study may have been too small to draw any conclusions about the genetic origins of schizophrenia. Mr Lencz said the findings need to be replicated in other studies. He said he and colleagues have obtained funding to test more patients. The study was the result of an academic-industry collaboration involving a unit of the biotechnology company Clinical Data Inc., which is seeking a patent related to the findings. Edited from the ASdelaide Advertiser, march 21. By Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago
• Marion, Kansas
21 Mar 07
The human genome study may provide keys to many of the puzzling diseases that seem to be occurring more and more frequently. It is a first step. There have been many myths about disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, bi polar disorder, autoimmune diseases, and alzheimers. I hope that we find some help, because a lot more than one percent of the people I know suffer from one or another of these diseases.
• United States
21 Mar 07
Not sure what to say. My only add would be the way we eat now is probably a contributor to the slow decline of our bodies and therefore socities. It can be a good thing if they are able to be able to test and help many people. The benefit would be tremendous. Thanks for sharing this information.