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 Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>