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
How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH
A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology