Date Published: 4 September 2006
Genetic susceptibility to schizophrenia found - Cardiff University
Researchers in the Department of Psychological Medicine at Cardiff University's School of Medicine have discovered that variants of a gene crucial for brain development are associated with the development of schizophrenia. The research was published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Previous research has suggested that schizophrenia might be related to a defect the insulating sheaths that cover nerve cells in the brain. These sheaths are made of a substance called myelin'.
Professors Michael O'Donovan, Michael Owen and colleagues investigated genetic susceptibility to schizophrenia by looking at several genes involved in the development of myelin.
After analysing DNA they found that variants of a particular gene - the master regulator of the cells that carry out myelination'- are associated with increased risk of schizophrenia. They also obtained evidence that the same gene interacts with two other genes active in this process to increase risk. Their work provides the first evidence that a disorder of myelination might be fundamental to the disorder.
Professor Mike Owen said:
" New research is now needed to understand in more detail just how this happens and to determine whether this might be a fruitful target for new therapies."
Source: Cardiff University, Wales (UK).