A study at Cardiff University discovered the specific genes involved in schizophrenia in brain cells. The findings are published in the journal Nature.
Hundreds of researchers across 45 countries analyzed DNA from 76,755 people with schizophrenia and 243,649 people without schizophrenia. They looked into the genetics of schizophrenia, particularly genetic mutation and gene expression in neurons. They looked beyond European ancestries and considered African American and Latino ancestries to understand the genetic risks posed by schizophrenia.
The studies revealed that a large number of genetic links to schizophrenia exist in 287 different regions of the genome, the human body’s DNA blueprint. Advanced genetic study of schizophrenia further pinpointed the 120 genes directly contributing to the psychiatric disorder.
The findings further showed that the genetic risk for schizophrenia is concentrated in genes located in brain cells called neurons and not in any other cell type or tissue. Because of this, abnormal neuron function in schizophrenia affects multiple brain areas. The symptoms of schizophrenia get manifested as delusions, brain fog, and psychosis.
The present study is significant because—even though earlier works laid claim on the genetic nature of schizophrenia—this is the first of its kind to provide a detailed understanding of the
disease’s genetic mechanisms. It also threw insight into the genetic variants involved in schizophrenia. The researchers are enthusiastic that its results can facilitate the development of radically new interventions that effectively treat schizo-affective disorders.
One of the lead researchers, Professor Michael O’Donovan, elaborated: “[This is] a necessary step in what remains a difficult journey towards understanding the causes of this disorder and identifying new treatments.”
To Know More You May Refer To
Trubetskoy, V., Pardiñas, A.F., Qi, T. et al. Mapping genomic loci implicates genes and synaptic biology in schizophrenia. Nature (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-04434-5