Gene linked with mental illness is studied

Nov 07, 2006

U.S. scientists have found a gene variant linked with mental illness is also linked with enlargement of a brain region that handles negative emotions.

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Central Texas Veterans Health Care System researchers focused on a gene related to the neurotransmitter serotonin. They found the region of the brain called the pulvinar is larger and contains more nerve cells in those carrying the gene.

Once specific nerve cells release serotonin, a molecule called the serotonin transporter, or SERT, brings it back into the cell. Drugs that prevent this re-uptake, such as Prozac, are frequently used to treat patients with depression.

The serotonin transporter gene has two forms, or variants: short, or SERT-s, and long, SERT-l. People carrying two SERT-s genes are more likely to experience depression than people with one or no SERT-s genes.

The researchers studied brains from 49 deceased people, with and without psychiatric illnesses. They found subjects carrying two SERT-s genes had pulvinar areas 20 percent larger and contained 20 percent more nerve cells.

The study is available online and will appear in a future issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Clues to genetics of congenital heart defects emerge from Down syndrome study

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Russia turns back clocks to permanent Winter Time

7 hours ago

Russia on Sunday is set to turn back its clocks to winter time permanently in a move backed by President Vladimir Putin, reversing a three-year experiment with non-stop summer time that proved highly unpopular.

UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn

7 hours ago

Concern was high at a perceived lack of urgency as UN climate negotiations shuffled towards a close in Bonn on Saturday with just 14 months left to finalise a new, global pact.

Microsoft beefs up security protection in Windows 10

11 hours ago

What Microsoft users in business care deeply about—-a system architecture that supports efforts to get their work done efficiently; a work-centric menu to quickly access projects rather than weather readings ...

New iPad cellular models have Apple SIM flexibility

Oct 19, 2014

Cellular-enabled iPad models are under a new paradigm, said AppleInsider, regarding the Apple SIM. Apple's newest iPad models with cellular connectivity use a SIM card which tech sites said could eventually ...

Comet Siding Spring whizzes past Mars (Update)

Oct 19, 2014

A comet the size of a small mountain and about as solid as a pile of talcum powder whizzed past Mars on Sunday, dazzling space enthusiasts with the once-in-a-million-years encounter.

Recommended for you

Right environment could improve stem cell therapies

Oct 23, 2014

Stem cell therapies are being hailed as a potential cure for many major health conditions, but there is much still to learn about the highly complex environments needed to optimise these therapies, according to researchers ...

User comments : 0