Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Translate
Translate
menu iconMenu
search iconSearch

Large International Study Supports Common Genetic Contributions to Mental Illness

 

September 23, 2011  |  

A large international research consortium has identified several new genes associated with both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  Their study, co-authored by psychiatric researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, reveals that common genetic variants contribute to a person’s risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The findings, reported by the Psychiatric Genome-Wide Association Study Consortium (PGC) and published online today in two papers in the journal Nature Genetics, provide new molecular evidence that 11 genetic regions have strong, robust, and replication association with these diseases, including six regions not previously observed. The researchers also found that many DNA variations contribute to both diseases.

“These findings represent a major advance that will help us understand the cause of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and in the development of new treatments for these chronic, severe and debilitating disorders,” said John Kelsoe, MD, professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego and co-chair of the Psychiatric GWAS Consortium for Bipolar Disorder, whose lab played a major role in this work.

Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are common and often devastating brain disorders. Some of the most prominent symptoms in schizophrenia are persistent delusions, hallucinations and cognitive problems. Bipolar disorder (or manic-depressive illness) is characterized by episodes of severe mood problems including mania and depression. Both affect about 1 percent of the world’s population and usually strike in late adolescence or early adulthood. Despite the availability of treatments, these illnesses are usually chronic, and response to treatment is often incomplete leading to prolonged disability and personal suffering. Family history, which reflects genetic inheritance, is a strong risk factor for both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and it has generally been assumed that dozens of genes, along with environmental factors, contribute to disease risk.

Kelsoe said that the studies employed a powerful genomics mapping technology called genome-wide association, an approach that involves rapidly scanning markers across the complete sets of DNA, or genomes, of many people to find genetic variations associated with a particular disease.  “In our paper on bipolar disorder, a million DNA markers were examined in more than 12,000 patients with bipolar disorder and 49,000 control subjects,” said Kelsoe, who is a member of the Department of Psychiatry and the Institute for Genomic Medicine at UC San Diego.

Formed in 2007, the PGC is the largest consortium ever in psychiatry in which more than 250 researchers in 20 countries have come together to advance knowledge of the genetic causes of mental illness. These groups have shared genetic data from tens of thousands of patients collected over many years.

The research was funded by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, as well as numerous European, U.S., and Australian funding bodies.

# # #

Media Contact: Debra Kain, 619-543-6163, ddkain@ucsd.edu


Related Specialties

Psychiatry



Media Contact

Related News

4/22/2015
UC San Diego Health System and Scripps Health are partnering to provide improved continuity of patient care, fellowship training and research in hospice and palliative medicine. Under a new five-year ...
4/20/2015
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center have discovered a molecular mechanism that connects breast tissue stiffness to tumor metastasis and p ...
4/20/2015
A decrease in the amount of time spent eating and an increase in overnight fasting reduces glucose levels and may reduce the risk of breast cancer among women, report University of California, San Die ...
4/20/2015
The threat of falsified medications, also referred to as counterfeit, fraudulent, and substandard, can be quite real, yet the full scope and prevalence of the problem is poorly understood, say researc ...
4/17/2015
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have created an in vitro, live-cell artificial vessel that can be used to study both the application and effects of devices us ...
4/16/2015
The increase in use of e-cigarettes has led to heated debates between opponents who question the safety of these devices and proponents who claim the battery-operated products are a useful cessation t ...
4/16/2015
An international team of scientists, led by researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, have found genetic overlap between Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and two significant cardi ...
4/13/2015
About one quarter of all atrial fibrillation patients at the lowest risk for stroke receive unnecessary blood thinners from cardiology specialists, according to a new study by researchers at Universit ...


Share This Article



Follow Us