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Environmental Blood Markers Linked with Schizophrenia

Environmental Blood Markers Linked with SchizophreniaA new international study finds that environmental effects that may influence schizophrenia may be tracked as blood markers, potentially aiding early identification of the disease.

The environmental factors include oxygen deprivation, infections and other similar events .

“These markers, possibly from as early as embryonic development or birth, could be of considerable clinical importance as they could allow for identification of distinct schizophrenia subtypes or help predict treatment responses,” said Karolina Aberg, Ph.D., first author of the study.

Schizophrenia is a devastating psychiatric disorder. Although there is strong support for the involvement of DNA sequence variation in the development of the disorder, other factors such as environmental influences are also likely to play a major role.

The research team performed one of the first large-scale, methylome-wide association studies (MWAS) of schizophrenia , is discussed online in JAMA Psychiatry, the JAMA Network journal.

“Methylation is a specific modification to the DNA molecule that could potentially reflect environmental events,” said Edwin van den Oord, Ph.D., the senior author of the study.

“Therefore, DNA methylation studies are very promising complements to traditional genetic studies that potentially can give us a deeper understanding of the schizophrenia disease etiology.”

In this study, researchers investigated approximately 27 million DNA methylation markings in blood samples from 1,497 schizophrenia cases and controls.

This methylome-wide screening was performed by extracting the methylated portion of the genome and then investigating this portion with massively parallel next-generation sequencing.

To ensure that the findings from this screening were not false findings caused, for example, by method-specific artifacts or statistical errors, researchers used a different technology to follow up the critical top findings in independent subjects who were not part of the initial screening step.

The study identified 139 highly significant methylation sites.

Many of the replicating markings could be linked to hypoxia, immune response and neuronal differentiation, which are risk factors previously associated with schizophrenia development.

Source: Virginia Commonwealth University

 

Abstract DNA photo by shutterstock.

Environmental Blood Markers Linked with 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). Environmental Blood Markers Linked with Schizophrenia. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/01/10/environmental-blood-markers-linked-with-schizophrenia/64309.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.