Researchers addressed this question in an international study. This investigated the degree of genetic commonality between five psychiatric illnesses that are particularly common in the general population: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The results demonstrate a strong genetic correlation between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A less pronounced but nonetheless clear overlap was also detected between major depression and the disorders bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, as well as between bipolar disorder and ADHD. The results of the study, which involved scientists from the CIMH, have now been published in the scientific journal Nature Genetics.
While environmental factors are implicated in the development of psychiatric disorders, the contribution of inherited factors is of particular importance in terms of disease-risk. Family studies have demonstrated an overlap in terms of genetic factors between individual, diagnostically defined clinical disorders. The recent advent of genome-wide research methods has allowed systematic investigation of this overlap at the molecular level. The study involved more than 300 international researchers, including a number of German scientists from the National Genome Research Network “MooDs”, which aims to investigate the molecular causes of affective and schizophrenia disorders.
During the course of the study, around 1 million variable positions in the genome, so-called “Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms” (SNPs), were compared between more than 75,000 individuals. This involved patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, autism, and ADHD, as well as healthy control individuals.
„Once again, this study shows that our approach of systematically investigating the genome for the causes of psychiatric illness is successful,“ emphasized the coordinator of the Research Network Professor Markus Nöthen from the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Bonn. “The limiting factor, however, is that the success of such investigations is dependent upon the number of participating patients, particularly since the symptoms of diseases and disease-progression vary so widely across the patients,” pointed out Professor Marcella Rietschel, Scientific Director of the Department of Genetic Epidemiology in Psychiatry at the CIMH. Ultimately, the success of the study was enabled by the pooling of the efforts of a large number of researchers from across the world and the molecular-genetic data of tens of thousands of individuals.
The scientists found a particularly strong similarity in terms of the pattern of SNPs between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This indicates that these two illnesses share a large number of common genetic factors. Evidence for a significant overlap in terms of contributory genetic factors was also found between bipolar disorder and major depression, as well as between schizophrenia and major depression. “In particular for schizophrenia and major depression, the study showed that the causes of these two psychiatric illnesses are more similar than previously thought, “explained Sven Cichon, Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of Basel. The results represent an important contribution to our understanding of these neuropsychiatric disorders, which occur frequently in the general population. They demonstrate biological similarities between disorders which have hitherto been defined diagnostically, and give impetus to the search for a system of causal disease classification.
Contact at the CIMH:Prof. Dr. Marcella Rietschel
Sigrid Wolff | idw
Electrical 'switch' in brain's capillary network monitors activity and controls blood flow
27.03.2017 | Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont
Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences