In the largest genetic study of psychiatric illness to date, scientists have discovered genetic links between 5 major psychiatric disorders.
Investigators from the Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium have found that autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and schizophrenia share common genetic risk factors.
Specifically, the results of the genome-wide association study (GWAS) reveal single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 2 genes — CACNA1C and CACNB2 — both of which are involved in the balance of calcium in brain cells, are implicated in several of these disorders, and could provide a potential target for new treatments.
“This analysis provides the first genome-wide evidence that individual and aggregate molecular genetic risk factors are shared between 5 childhood-onset or adult-onset psychiatric disorders that are treated as distinct categories in clinical practice,” study investigator Jordan Smoller, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, said in a release.
by Caroline Cassels, Medscape