July 21, 2005

Gene linked to Schizophrenia

A gene that has been implicated in the past as a factor in schizophrenia, has in new research been linked again to both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

"Variations in the neuregulin (NRG) 1 gene play a role in not only in the development of schizophrenia but also bipolar disorder, possibly affecting a functional psychosis that has features of both conditions, say UK researchers. It has traditionally been assumed that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are separate diseases and have separate underlying etiologies, following the so-called kraepelinian divide. However, evidence from family and twin studies has suggested that, in addition to genes that affect specifically schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, there are genes that confer susceptibility across the kraepelinian divide" (PsychiatryMatters.MD).

NRG1 lies on chromosome 8p12 and in previous studies has shown that it gives one a vulnerability to schizophrenia. In this study 529 patients who had been diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder participated, as well as 1,011 healthy controls. Prior data on 573 patients with schizophrenia was used. T

hey looked at the NRG1 haplotype on all of the patients and found that those with bipolar disorder had an odds ratio of 1.37, and those with schizophrenia had an odds raio of 1.22. A haplotype is a group of alternative forms of a gene, for different genes, that are linked closely enough to be inherited as a unit. This was paraphrased from Medline Plus Medical Dictionary.

These findings confirm past conclusions that a predisposition towards psychosis/schizophrenia is something that can be inherited. It also shows that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are even more closely linked than we though; probably because psychosis often comes with both disorders.

You can view the full article here.

The source of this article was PsychiatryMatters.MD.

Posted by christine at July 21, 2005 12:52 PM

More Information on Schizophrenia Genetics


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