Gene with possible link to schizophrenia identified

February 27, 2008

Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have identified a gene associated with schizophrenia that could provide further insight about the functional changes that occur on the molecular level in individuals who suffer from it.

The results of the research, led by Xiangning Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and human genetics in VCU's School of Medicine, and Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., professor of psychiatry and human genetics in VCU's School of Medicine are reported in the March 1 issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry.

"The significance of this article is that it provides evidence that a gene directly involved in apoptosis, or cell death, is associated with schizophrenia. Apoptosis has long been speculated to be involved in schizophrenia, but no gene directly involved in this process was found to be associated with the disease," Chen said.

"If it is confirmed by other researchers, it will better our understanding of the pathophysiology of schizophrenia," he said.

The team studied variants of the gene, MEGF10, in affected and unaffected individuals from Ireland and Northern Ireland and compared the expression of the gene in the postmortem brains of healthy controls, as well as those with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

According to Chen, the team found that some variants of MEGF10 had a higher frequency in schizophrenia patients than in healthy controls and these variants were associated with higher expression of the gene in the brain of affected subjects.

Collaborating with Chen and Kendler were VCU researchers Xu Wang, Qi Chen, Vernell Williamson, Brion S. Maher, and Edwin van den Oord; F. Anthony O'Neill, with Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland; Dermot Walsh with the Health Research Board in Dublin, Ireland.

Source: Virginia Commonwealth University

Explore further: Team uncovers possible risk gene for schizophrenia

Related Stories

Team uncovers possible risk gene for schizophrenia

September 14, 2010

An international team of researchers has identified a risk gene for schizophrenia, including a potentially causative mutation, using genome-wide association data-mining techniques and independent replications.

Flow of potassium into cells implicated in schizophrenia

May 6, 2009

A study on schizophrenia has implicated machinery that maintains the flow of potassium in cells and revealed a potential molecular target for new treatments. Expression of a previously unknown form of a key such potassium ...

Nobel winner ties mental illness to immune defect

May 27, 2010

A Nobel Prize-winning University of Utah geneticist discovered that bone marrow transplants cure mutant mice who pull out their hair compulsively. The study provides the first cause-and-effect link between immune system cells ...

Mouse groups reveal complex relationships

September 3, 2013

A common belief is that our modern, stimulation-filled environment encourages individualistic behavior (or anti-social behavior, depending on one's point of view), while simpler surroundings give rise to a more developed ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.