Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Johns Hopkins team identifies genetic link to attempted suicide

29.03.2011
Findings could lead to new avenues of treatment research

A study of thousands of people with bipolar disorder suggests that genetic risk factors may influence the decision to attempt suicide.

Johns Hopkins scientists, reporting in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, have identified a small region on chromosome 2 that is associated with increased risk for attempted suicide. This small region contains four genes, including the ACP1 gene, and the researchers found more than normal levels of the ACP1 protein in the brains of people who had committed suicide. This protein is thought to influence the same biological pathway as lithium, a medication known to reduce the rate of suicidal behavior.

The researchers say the findings could lead to better suicide prevention efforts by providing new directions for research and drug development.

"We have long believed that genes play a role in what makes the difference between thinking about suicide and actually doing it," says study leader Virginia L. Willour, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Willour and her colleagues studied DNA samples from nearly 2,700 adults with bipolar disorder, 1,201 of them with a history of suicide attempts and 1,497 without. They found that those with one copy of a genetic variant in the region of chromosome 2 where ACP1 is located were 1.4 times more likely to have attempted suicide, and those with two copies were almost three times as likely.

Willour and her colleagues were able to replicate their findings in another group of samples: This one comprised DNA from more than 3,000 people with bipolar disorder. By using only DNA from people with bipolar disorder, the researchers say they were able to control for mental illness and narrow in on what may cause one group to attempt suicide and another to control those urges.

Suicide is estimated to kill 1.4 percent of the U.S. population, and roughly 4.6 percent of the population has attempted suicide at least once, Willour says. Among people with bipolar disorder, 47 percent think about killing themselves while 25 percent actually try to do it, she says.

Willour says the next steps are to replicate these findings and to determine the exact biological mechanisms through which these genetic risk factors increase the risk for suicidal behavior.

"What's promising are the implications of this work for learning more about the biology of suicide and the medications used to treat patients who may be at risk," Willour says. "Not everyone with bipolar disorder can take lithium because of its side effects. If we could give them another option, that would be fantastic."

The study was funded by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Other Hopkins researchers who participated in the study are Fayaz Seifuddin, M.S.; Pamela B. Mahon, Ph.D.; Dubravka Jancic, Ph.D.; Mehdi Pirooznia, M.D., Ph.D.; Barbara Schweizer, R.N., B.S.; Fernando S. Goes, M.D.; Francis Mondimore, M.D.; Dean F. MacKinnon, M.D.; J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., M.D.; Peter P. Zandi, Ph.D.; and James B. Potash, M.D., M.P.H.

For more information: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/psychiatry/specialty_areas/moods/expert_team/willour.html

Stephanie Desmon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhmi.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>