Study sheds light on genetic basis of schizophrenia

Researchers find more than a hundred specific locations in the human genome associated with risk for the brain disease.

Treatment options for patients with schizophrenia are limited, in part because the biological mechanisms underlying the disease are poorly understood.

Researchers from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium looked at more than 80,000 genetic samples from schizophrenia patients and healthy volunteers and found 108 specific locations in the human genome associated with risk for the disease, including regions associated with the immune system, in a study published in Nature (online, 22 July 2014). More than three quarters of the loci had not previously been linked to the disorder.

“The wealth of new findings have the potential to kick-start the development of new treatments in schizophrenia, a process which has stalled for the past 60 years,” says the paper’s lead author Michael O’Donovan, deputy director of the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics at Cardiff University School of Medicine.

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Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 9/16 August 2014, Vol 293, No 7822/3;293(7822/3):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2014.20065941