Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_93290

Genetic regions linked to schizophrenia by two Chinese studies

7 November 2011
Appeared in BioNews 632

Two Chinese genome wide association studies (GWAS) have identified genomic regions linked to the incidence of schizophrenia. The papers, published in Nature, are some of the first GWAS to look at Chinese as opposed to Western populations.

'[These findings] represent new potential targets to help understand schizophrenia. As we have only a relatively small number [of targets], this represents an important increase', said Dr Pamela Sklar, head of psychiatric genomics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, who was not involved in the studies.

The first paper, by a team at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, looked at 3,750 people with schizophrenia, and 6,468 without. They also looked at a further 4,383 schizophrenia patients and 4,539 control samples in a second, independent set. The second study was a collaboration between groups at the Chinese National Human Genome Centre in Shanghai and Peking University in Beijing.

The papers identified a number of chromosomal regions strongly linked to incidence of schizophrenia. Previously unknown variations in a region of chromosome 11 - 11p11.2 - were linked with the condition and associations were also found at chromosome loci 8p12, 1q24.2 and 6p21-p22.1.

The findings reinforced studies in European populations that linked genes on chromosome 6 involved in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a cluster of genes essential to the immune system, to schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia affects approximately one percent of the world's population. There is no known single cause of the disorder but researchers believe it commonly has a genetic component. People who have a close relative with schizophrenia are shown to be more likely to develop the disorder than are people who have no relatives with the condition.

However, much work remains to be done to discover which specific genes are involved. Researchers have to date identified around twenty variations in DNA that appear to influence schizophrenia but have not yet been able to find a molecular basis for the disorder.

'None of the studies by themselves pinpoint specific genes or causal alleles in this large, complex region', said Dr Shaun Purcell, who has developed statistical and computational tools for genetic analysis at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA. 'The next step might be to integrate the Chinese and European data. It would be great to see these large data sets combined'.

More work is needed to determine how much overlap there is between the genetics of the disorder in Asian and European populations.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Common variants on 8p12 and 1q24.2 confer risk of schizophrenia
Nature Genetics |  30 October 2011
Genome-wide association study identifies a susceptibility locus for schizophrenia in Han Chinese at 11p11.2
Nature Genetics |  30 October 2011
More clues in the genetics of schizophrenia
Nature News |  31 October 2011
Two unique studies indentify three genetic regions associated with schizophrenia
Medical Xpress |  1 November 2011
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
22 September 2014 - by Chris Hardy 
Schizophrenia might in fact be a group of related but distinct genetic disorders - a study has identified specific gene clusters that can be linked to eight clinically different types of the psychiatric illness...
28 July 2014 - by Isobel Steer 
More than 100 genetic regions have been found to be involved in schizophrenia, many of which were not previously linked to the condition...
28 July 2014 - by Dr Gerome Breen 
The paper detailing 100 genes associated with schizophrenia has made many psychiatric genetics researchers very happy, bringing a not-inconsiderable amount of relief that they have been proven at least partially correct...
27 January 2014 - by Chris Hardy 
Genetic mutations implicated in autism and intellectual difficulties may also underlie schizophrenia, say researchers...
15 August 2011 - by Mehmet Fidanboylu 
US researchers have linked mutations in 40 genes to sporadic schizophrenia. The evidence suggests that 50 percent of people with schizophrenia without a family history of the condition have 'de novo' DNA mutations that were not passed on from their parents...
28 February 2011 - by Dr Rachael Panizzo 
Scientists have identified a rare gene mutation which they believe is linked to schizophrenia. The researchers from the University of California, San Diego and Trinity College Dublin performed a genome-wide association scan...
20 September 2010 - by Ken Hanscombe 
An international team of researchers has identified a new gene, CYMA5, which is thought to be associated with schizophrenia...
16 June 2003 - by BioNews 
A team of US researchers has identified a genetic change that could trigger bipolar disorder, a type of mental illness commonly known as manic depression. Alterations in the GRK3 gene could be involved in up to 10 per cent of cases, claim the scientists, who are based at the University...
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.