Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


A glimpse into the genetic basis of schizophrenia


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 of Psychiatry, München

Phone: +49 89 30622-246


Anna Niedl

Press and Public Relations

Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, München

Phone: +49 89 30622-263
Fax: +49 89 30622-370


Original publication

Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium.
Biological insights from 108 schizophrenia-associated genetic loci.
Nature, 22. Juli 2014 (doi:10.1038/nature13595)AN/HR

Dr. Bertram Müller-Myhsok | Max-Planck-Institute

Further reports about: Psychiatry biomarkers disorder findings mechanisms schizophrenia therapeutic

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Tissue-engineered colon from human cells develop different types of neurons
02.10.2015 | Children's Hospital Los Angeles

nachricht Big eyes! – MDC Researchers Identify Cause of Inherited Form of Extreme Nearsightedness
02.10.2015 | Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New Sinumerik features improve productivity and precision

EMO 2015, Hall 3, Booth E06/F03

  • Drive optimization called automatically by the part program boosts productivity
  • Automatically switching the dynamic values to rapid traverse and interpolation...

Im Focus: LZH presents additive manufacturing at the LABVOLUTION

The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will present how laser-based technologies can contribute to the laboratory of the future at the LABVOLUTION in Hannover in Hall 9, Stand E67/09, from October 6th to 8th, 2015. As a part of the model lab smartLAB, the LZH is showing how additive manufacturing, better known as 3-D printing, can make experimental setups more flexible.

Twelve partners from science and industry are presenting an intelligent and innovative model lab at the special display smartLAB. A part of this intelligent...

Im Focus: New polymer creates safer fuels

Before embarking on a transcontinental journey, jet airplanes fill up with tens of thousands of gallons of fuel. In the event of a crash, such large quantities of fuel increase the severity of an explosion upon impact.

Researchers at Caltech and JPL have discovered a polymeric fuel additive that can reduce the intensity of postimpact explosions that occur during accidents and...

Im Focus: 3-D printing techniques help surgeons carve new ears

When surgical residents need to practice a complicated procedure to fashion a new ear for children without one, they typically get a bar of soap, carrot or an apple.

To treat children with a missing or under-developed ear, experienced surgeons harvest pieces of rib cartilage from the child and carve them into the framework...

Im Focus: Walk the line

NASA studies physical performance after spaceflight

Walking an obstacle course on Earth is relatively easy. Walking an obstacle course on Earth after being in space for six months is not quite as simple. The...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing healthcare and sustainably strengthening healthcare systems

01.10.2015 | Event News

Conference in Brussels: Tracking and Tracing the Smallest Marine Life Forms

30.09.2015 | Event News

World Alzheimer`s Day – Professor Willnow: Clearer Insights into the Development of the Disease

17.09.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Infrared thermography can detect joint inflammation and help improving work ergonomics

02.10.2015 | Medical Engineering

Semiconductor nanoparticles show high luminescence in a polymer matrix

02.10.2015 | Materials Sciences

New Sinumerik features improve productivity and precision

02.10.2015 | Trade Fair News

More VideoLinks >>>