People with schizophrenia from families with no history of the illness were found to harbor eight times more spontaneous mutations – most in pathways affecting brain development – than healthy controls, in a study supported in part by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). By contrast, no spontaneous mutations were found in people with schizophrenia who had family histories of the illness.
“Our findings strongly suggest that rare, spontaneous mutations likely contribute to vulnerability in cases of schizophrenia from previously unaffected families,” said Maria Karayiorgou, M.D., of Columbia University, who led the research team. “This may also shed light on why the illness has frustrated efforts to implicate gene variants with major effects, and seems to defy natural selection by persisting in the population even though relatively few of those affected have children.”
Karayiorgou and her colleagues report on their whole genome study online in Nature Genetics, May 30, 2008.
“Such abnormal deletions or duplications of genetic material are increasingly being implicated in schizophrenia and autism,” explained NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. “Now we have a dramatic demonstration that genetic vulnerabilities for these illnesses may not be inherited from parents, at least in the sense that these vulnerabilities were not present in the parental genome. This line of research holds promise for improved treatments – and perhaps someday even prevention – of developmental brain disorders.”
Although it’s known that genetics plays a major role in the transmission of both autism and schizophrenia, most cases are sporadic rather than familial.
Echoing findings of another recent study, Karayiorgou and her colleagues determined that most of the suspect mutations were not random, but found in genes and pathways involved in brain development. However, whether a mutation was spontaneous or inherited was not determined for most of the subjects included in the earlier study.
To pinpoint the sources of the glitches, the researchers in the new study compared genetic data from 369 subjects with data from their biological parents – in a total sample of 1,077 individuals drawn from the European ancestry Afrikaner population in South Africa. Including parental genes makes it possible to definitively determine what’s inherited.
Scans of each person’s genome detected the spontaneous mutations in 15 of 152 individuals (10 percent) with non-familial schizophrenia, and only in two of 159 people (1 percent) without the illness – the eight-fold difference. Such sporadic cases were only 1.5 times more likely than controls to harbor inherited mutations.
The researchers also found three deletions of genetic material at a site on chromosome 22 previously implicated in schizophrenia, confirming it as the only known recurrent such mutation linked to schizophrenia.
Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel
Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
27.04.2017 | Materials Sciences