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Genetic Predisposition for Schizophrenia

A new study presents evidence that a genetic variation may predispose individuals to develop schizophrenia. Chinese researchers report the chitinase 3-like 1 gene as a potential schizophrenia-susceptibility gene and suggest that the genes involved in biological response to adverse conditions are likely linked to schizophrenia.

The study is found in The American Journal of Human Genetics.

Analyzing two separate cohorts of Chinese patients with schizophrenia, the researchers observed a positive association between schizophrenia and genetic variations in the promoter region of the chitinase 3-like 1 (CHI3L1) gene, an association that was significant in both population-based and family-based investigations.

The CHI3L1 gene acts as a survival factor in response to adverse environments, countering various types of physiological stress, such as inflammation, nutrient deprivation, and oxygen deficiency, all of which may induce high expression of CHI3L1. The gene is located on chromosome 1q32.1, a region that has been previously shown to have a weak correlation to schizophrenia.

A number of environmental factors, including prenatal exposure to disease, have been reported as risk factors of schizophrenia. However, the researchers argue that sensitivity to environmental stressors varies widely among individuals, and “at least part of this variation may be genetic in origin and/or involve gene-environment factors,” they write.

Genetic variations that change the expression of CHI3L1 can influence key processes dependent on CHI3L1 levels, knocking out portions of the AKT-mediated signal pathway. The AKT-mediated signal pathway has been shown to be impaired in patients with schizophrenia, and antipsychotic medication may induce AKT activation, to compensate for the impairment. Additionally, activation of the inflammatory response has been observed in those with schizophrenia and other affective disorders.

“In conclusion, our findings identify CHI3L1 as a potential schizophrenia-susceptibility gene,” write the authors. “Our results . . . support the proposal that genes involved in biological response to adverse environmental conditions play roles in the predisposition to schizophrenia.”

Source: University of Chicago

Genetic Predisposition for Schizophrenia

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Genetic Predisposition for Schizophrenia. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 16, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/01/26/genetic-predisposition-for-schizophrenia/576.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.