New Genetic Mutations in Schizophrenia Identified

Many of the mutations identified affect genes during early-to-mid fetal development—an interesting find considering the onset of schizophrenia is usually around adolescence to early adulthood. Findings show the function of the mutated gene, as well as when the gene is expressed, are significant factors for identifying schizophrenia risk.
The findings show that in pregnancy, environmental factors such as infection or malnutrition can contribute to the development of schizophrenia. “Our findings provide a mechanism that could explain how prenatal environmental insults during the first and second trimester of pregnancy increase one’s risk for schizophrenia,” said study leader Maria Karayiorgou, MD, professor of psychiatry at CUMC, and acting chief in the division of Psychiatric and Medical Genetics at New York State Psychiatric Institute. “Patients with these mutations were much more likely to have had behavioral abnormalities, such as phobias and anxiety in childhood, as well as worse disease outcome.”
A previous study looked at 53 families, and found that spontaneous mutations (or de novo mutations) are genetic errors that patients with schizophrenia have but their parents do not. Researchers found these mutations played a major role in cases of sporadic schizophrenia. These mutations were found in the part of the genome known as the exome.

by Written by Antonietta Petrella, Mental Wellness Today

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