Finding likely to advance research in little-understood disorder
A group of researchers led by Johns Hopkins scientists say they have identified a genetic marker that may be associated with the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), whose causes and mechanisms are among the least understood among mental illnesses.
The results of the research are published online May 13 by the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
"If this finding is confirmed, it could be useful," says study leader Gerald Nestadt, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of Johns Hopkins' Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Program. "We might ultimately be able to identify new drugs that could help people with this often disabling disorder, one for which current medications work only 60 to 70 percent of the time."
Nestadt and his team conducted what is known as a genome-wide association study, scanning the genomes of more than 1,400 people with OCD and more than 1,000 close relatives of people with the mental disorder. A significant association was identified in OCD patients near a gene called protein tyrosine phosphokinase (PTPRD).
OCD is a condition marked by thoughts and images that chronically intrude in the mind and by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety. Some of the least disabling forms of the disorder can add an extra hour to the day's routine, causing distress and interfering with daily life. Some people are so disabled that they can't leave their homes.
Experts say OCD affects an estimated 1 to 2 percent of the U.S. population, and the World Health Organization has called it one of the more disabling medical conditions worldwide. Antidepressants known as SSRIs work for some people, but not everyone; the same is true of behavioral therapy.
Nestadt says the genome-wide association study findings of a PTRPD-OCD link add to evidence that the genetic region they identified is important. The gene has already been shown in animals to be possibly involved in learning and memory, traits influenced by OCD in humans. Moreover, some cases of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been associated with the gene, and OCD and ADHD have some symptoms in common. He says the gene also works with another gene family, SLITRK, which has also been associated with OCD in animals.
"OCD research has lagged behind other psychiatric disorders in terms of genetics," Nestadt says. "We hope this interesting finding brings us closer to making better sense of it — and helps us find ways to treat it."
Other Johns Hopkins researchers involved in the study include Jack Samuels, Ph.D; Ying Wang, M.S.; Marco A. Grados, M.D., M.P.H.; Mark A. Riddle, M.D.; Bernadette A. Cullen, M.B., B.Ch., B.A.O., M.R.C.Psych; O. Joseph Bienvenu, M.D., Ph.D.; Kung-Yee Liang, Ph.D.; Fernando S. Goes, M.D.; Brion Maher, Ph.D.; Ann E. Pulver, Sc.D.; and David Valle, M.D. Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark, the Harvard School of Public Health, Brown University's Alpert Medical School, the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and the University of British Columbia.
The OCD Collaborative Genetics Association Study is a collaborative research study funded by NIMH (MH071507, MH079489, MH079487, MH079488 and MH079494).
Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM), headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is a $6.7 billion integrated global health enterprise and one of the leading health care systems in the United States. JHM unites physicians and scientists of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with the organizations, health professionals and facilities of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. JHM's vision, "Together, we will deliver the promise of medicine," is supported by its mission to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence in medical education, research and clinical care. Diverse and inclusive, JHM educates medical students, scientists, health care professionals and the public; conducts biomedical research; and provides patient-centered medicine to prevent, diagnose and treat human illness. JHM operates six academic and community hospitals, four suburban health care and surgery centers, and more than 30 primary health care outpatient sites. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, opened in 1889, was ranked number one in the nation for 21 years in a row by U.S. News & World Report.
Johns Hopkins Medicine, 901 South Bond St., Suite 550, Baltimore, MD 21231 United States
Stephanie Desmon | Eurek Alert!
Fast-tracking T cell therapies with immune-mimicking biomaterials
16.01.2018 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
Dengue takes low and slow approach to replication
12.01.2018 | Duke University
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
16.01.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering