Novel genetic associations might enlighten underlying molecular mechanisms of schizophrenia and provide biomarkers for future diagnosis
For schizophrenia, biomarkers or supportive diagnostic tests are scarce and for many patients the efficacy of pharmacological treatment is limited. The PGC-SZ (Psychiatric Genomics Consortium - Schizophrenia), including scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, has now identified more than 100 genetic loci related to schizophrenia.
Artistic view of how life feels after the diagnosis of schizophrenia.
© Glen Brady, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research
The results point to molecules that are currently the most promising targets for therapeutics also aligning well with recent theories about factors causing schizophrenia. The novel findings provide a relevant foundation for mechanistic and treatment development studies.
Schizophrenia is known to be a heritable disorder, highlighting inherited genetic variants to be a key causative for this disease. Due to the scarcity of biomarkers or supportive diagnostic tests, diagnosis is almost exclusively clinician-based. Furthermore, although pharmacological treatments are available for schizophrenia, their efficacy is limited for many patients.
The PGC-SZ, including Bertram Müller-Myhsok, Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, has now performed a genome-wide association study and identified more than 100 genomic loci that are significantly related to schizophrenia.
“Our findings include molecules that are currently the most promising targets for therapeutics and point to molecular systems aligning with the predominant theories on factors causing schizophrenia,” states Bertram Müller-Myhsok. “This might suggest that the many novel findings we report also provide a relevant foundation for treatment development studies.”
Particularly variations in genes related to altered glutamatergic synaptic and calcium channel function might serve as a panel of biomarkers for future diagnosis of schizophrenia or might allow better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the disease.
Such associations with genes playing a role in the central nervous system are most relevant for the development of treatment strategies. The results of the study verified genetic associations with the gene coding for the type 2 dopaminergic receptor (DRD2).
“All available antipsychotic drugs are thought to exert their main therapeutic effects through blockade of DRD2,” explains Bertram Müller-Myhsok. “Since the discovery of this mechanism over 60 years ago, no new antipsychotic drug of proven efficacy has been developed based on other target molecules.” Thus, therapeutic stasis is in large part a consequence of the fact that the disease-causing mechanisms are still unknown. Identifying the causes of schizophrenia is therefore a critical step towards improving treatment and outcome for patients suffering from this disorder.
Dr. Bertram Müller-Myhsok | Max-Planck-Institute
Synthetic nanoparticles achieve the complexity of protein molecules
24.01.2017 | Carnegie Mellon University
Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
24.01.2017 | Universität Basel
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy