Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New gene variant may explain psychotic features in bipolar disorder

05.03.2013
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have found an explanation for why the level of kynurenic acid (KYNA) is higher in the brains of people with schizophrenia or bipolar disease with psychosis.

The study, which is published in the scientific periodical Molecular Psychiatry, identifies a gene variant associated with an increased production of KYNA. The discovery contributes to the further understanding of the link between inflammation and psychosis – and might pave the way for improved therapies.

Kynurenic acid (KYNA) is a substance that affects several signalling pathways in the brain and that is integral to cognitive function. Earlier studies of cerebrospinal fluid have shown that levels of KYNA are elevated in the brains of patients with schizophrenia or bipolar diseases with psychotic features. The reason for this has, however, not been fully understood.

KMO is an enzyme involved in the production of KYNA, and the Karolinska Institutet team has now shown that some individuals have a particular genetic variant of KMO that affects its quantity, resulting in higher levels of KYNA. The study also shows that patients with bipolar disease who carry this gene variant had almost twice the chance of developing psychotic episodes.

KYNA is produced in inflammation, such as when the body is exposed to stress and infection. It is also known that stress and infection may trigger psychotic episodes. The present study provides a likely description of this process, which is more likely to occur in those individuals with the gene variant related to higher production of KYNA. The researchers also believe that the discovery can help explain certain features of schizophrenia or development of other psychotic conditions.

"Psychosis related to bipolar disease has a very high degree of heredity, up to 80 per cent, but we don't know which genes and which mechanisms are involved," says Martin Schalling, Professor of medical genetics at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, also affiliated to the Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM). "This is where our study comes in, with a new explanation that can be linked to signal systems activated by inflammation. This has consequences for diagnostics, and paves the way for new therapies, since there is a large arsenal of already approved drugs that modulate inflammation."

The study was financed with grants from Karolinska Institutet, the Swedish Research Council, the Söderström-Königska Foundation, the Royal Physiographic Society, the Fredrik and Ingrid Thuring Foundation, the Åhlén Foundation, the Department of Clinical Psychiatry at Huddinge University Hospital, the William Lion Penzner Foundation and the US government.

Publication: 'The KMO allele encoding Arg452 is associated with psychotic features in bipolar disorder type 1, and with increased CSF KYNA level and KMO expression', Catharina Lavebratt, Sara Olsson, Lena Backlund, Louise Frisén, Carl Sellgren, Lutz Priebe, Pernilla Nikamo, Lil Träskman-Bendz, Sven Cichon, Marquis P. Vawter, Urban Ösby, Göran Engberg, Mikael Landén, Sophie Erhardt, and Martin Schalling, Molecular Psychiatry, online first 5 March 2013. Embargoed until Tuesday 5 March at 9 am UK time / 10 am CET / 4 am US ET.

For further information about the study, please contact:

Dr. Catharina Lavebratt, Associate Professor
Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet
Tel: 46-08-5177 6524.
Email: catharina.lavebratt@ki.se
Dr. Martin Schalling, Professor
Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet
Tel: 46-070-4841230
Email: martin.schalling@ki.se
Contact the Press Office: ki.se/pressroom
Karolinska Institutet – a medical university: ki.se/English

Press Office | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ki.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

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...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

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...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

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...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Bodyguards in the gut have a chemical weapon

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>