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New Genetic Understanding of Schizophrenia

dnaSchizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disease characterized by disorganized behavior, delusions and hallucinations. Sadly, there is no clear understanding of its cause.

In a new collaborative study, UCLA and Dutch researchers have identified three new candidate genes for schizophrenia that may contribute to a better understanding of how the disease evolves.

Reporting in the October issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, Roel A. Ophoff, an assistant professor with the Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics at UCLA, and his colleagues examined the genetic makeup of 54 Dutch patients diagnosed with deficit schizophrenia, a particularly severe form of the disease that is both chronic and debilitating.

Specifically, they looked at a number of large but rare deletions and duplications in the genome of the patients, known as copy number variants, or CNVs.

Scientists suspect that such missing or duplicated segments of DNA could be responsible for increased susceptibility to a number of diseases. In this study, the researchers showed that three of these rare CNVs interrupted genes associated with brain function.

“These genes were not implicated in schizophrenia before,” said Ophoff, who holds a joint appointment at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

“So next, we tested these three genes in a large follow-up study of more than 750 general-schizophrenia patients and 700 controls. And what surprised us is that roughly 1 percent of schizophrenia patients harbor these genomic deletions.”

Changes in these three genes are rare but seem to dramatically increase the risk of developing schizophrenia, Ophoff said. The identification of these new candidate genes will provide a better insight into the underlying biology of schizophrenia and explain why some individuals are at risk to develop the disease.

“Another important step will be to assess the inheritance patterns of such CNVs,” Ophoff said. “Since this is an inherited disease affecting approximately 1 percent of the population, this would be valuable toward establishing the clinical relevance of this important class of genomic variations.”

Source: UCLA

New Genetic Understanding of 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). New Genetic Understanding of Schizophrenia. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/10/22/new-genetic-understanding-of-schizophrenia/3179.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.