Scientists have pinpointed how different types of damage in types of damage to the same gene can cause some people to suffer from schizophrenia while others have major depression.
The findings which are published in the journal Neuron, provide further evidence that these illnesses are inherited, and may in the future help doctors pinpoint which patients will respond to different types of treatments.
Experts from the University of Edinburgh, working with researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada and RIKEN in Japan, studied two types of damage to a gene (DISC1). Previous research at the University, working with families with a high incidence of mental illness, identified this gene as being linked to schizophrenia, manic depression (bipolar affective disorder) and major depression. The gene was also found to be essential for brain signalling and plays a key role in learning, memory and mood.
To further their findings, experts looked at the behaviour of mice with two types of damage in the gene. The results suggest that one responded better to antipsychotics, used to treat schizophrenia while the other responded better to anti-depressants, used to treat mood disorders.
Prof David Porteous, Chair of Human Molecular Genetics and Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said: “While the causes of schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and major depression are unknown, all the evidence points to subtle differences in the way the brain develops and to chemical changes in the brain. Our previous work identified the DISC1 gene as an important risk factor in these types of mental illness.
“By analysing the behaviour of mice, we were able to provide further evidence of the importance of DISC1. We also found remarkable clear cut differences between the different types of damage to the gene and the treatment that was the most effective. By analysing how the brain changes and develops over time we would hope that this would lead to more effective drugs to treat such illnesses.”
About one in 50 people worldwide will develop the symptoms of schizophrenia or bipolar affective disorder, with the first signs often appearing in late adolescence or early adulthood. Most cases arise in families with some sort of history of mental illness implying a strong influence of genes. Several different genes have been reported to pre-dispose to schizophrenia but DISC1 is one of the few which has been replicated by several laboratories.
Tara Womersley | EurekAlert!
‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie
Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy