Navigation Links
Genes of the immune system are associated with increased risk of mental illness
Date:2/7/2011

Genes linked to the immune system can affect healthy people's personality traits as well as the risk of developing mental illness and suicidal behaviour, reveals a thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Inflammation is part of the immune system and is responsible for defending humans against infection as well as fascilitating the healing of injuries, and is therefore vital for our survival. Research has demonstrated that inflammatory processes also have other roles to play as inflammatory substances produced by the body influence mechanisms in the brain involving learning and memory.

Inflammatory substances produced in moderate quantities in the brain can be beneficial during the formation of new brain cells, for example. However, an increase in the levels of these substances as is the case during illness, can result in damage to the brain.

"Previous studies have shown that individuals suffering from various mental illnesses have an increased peripheral inflammation, but the reason behind this increase is not known," says Petra Suchankova Karlsson, who wrote the thesis. "It has been suggested that the stress that goes with mental illness activates the body's immune system, but it is also possible that inflammation in the body affects the brain, which in turn results in mental illness."

Previous studies have focused on how environmental and psychological factors affect the immune system's impact on the brain. Suchankova's thesis presents, for the first time, results that suggest that several different genes linked to the immune system are associated with healthy people's personality traits. It also demonstrates that some of these genes are associated with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia or suicidal behaviour.

"One of the things we studied was a gene variant that increases impulsiveness in people who carry it," says Suchankova. "We already knew that the risk of attempting suicide is higher in impulsive people and therefore analysed this gene variant in a group of patients who had attempted to take their life. We found that these patients more often carried the particular gene variant when compared to the general population which meant that this variant was not only associated with increased impulsiveness in healthy individuals but also with increased risk of suicidal behaviour."

The change in the levels of inflammatory substances in the blood of patients suffering from a mental illness as previously noted may have been caused by inflammation-related genes affecting the risk of mental illness, rather than the illness itself leading to a change in levels, as is traditionally believed.

"It could well be that some variants of the genes play a role in the development of mental illness by controlling how the brain is formed, perhaps during the embryonic stage, or by affecting the transfer of signal substances," says Suchankova.

The results of this thesis support the proposed role of the immune system in mental illness, and could be used as a basis for further studies that, it is hoped, will lead to the development of new treatment methods.

The thesis has been successfully defended.


'/>"/>

Contact: Petra Suchankova Karlsson
petra.suchankova@pharm.gu.se
46-031-786-3448
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. £2 million study to reveal workings of dementia genes
2. Jefferson scientists deliver toxic genes to effectively kill pancreatic cancer cells
3. NIHs Genes, Environment and Health Initiative adds 6 studies
4. Scientist plans to test for blood pressure genes affected by age
5. Fishy future written in the genes
6. New tool probes function of rice genes
7. Brainy genes, not brawn, key to success on mussel beach
8. Researchers continue to find genes for type 1 diabetes
9. Genes that control cell death fingered in age-related hearing loss
10. Mapping a clan of mobile selfish genes
11. NJIT professor finds engineering technique to identify disease-causing genes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. ... technology company, announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. ... to its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance ... Gino ... we look forward to their guidance and benefiting from their ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... KEY FINDINGS The global market for stem ... 25.76% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. The rise ... growth of the stem cell market. Download ... The global stem cell market is segmented on the ... cell market of the product is segmented into adult ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... 30, 2017 The research team of The ... (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery ... of speed and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration ... ... A research team ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Bacterial biofilms, surface adherent ... can cause diverse pathologies ranging from food poisoning and catheter infections to gum disease ... in the tens of billions of dollars per year, there is currently a paucity ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... today that it is exhibiting in booth B2 at the Association for ... May 22-25. , In addition to demonstrating its Cancer Diagnostic Cockpit and ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... 18, 2017 , ... Dr. Ralph Mobbs of the Neuro ... Wales Private Hospital. The procedure was performed on a 46-year-old male patient suffering ... prior to undergoing surgery. , The AxioMed viscoelastic disc is a next-generation disc ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Cognition Corporation ( http://www.cognition.us ), ... version 9.0 of the Cognition Cockpit platform. , “Our whole team has put ... CEO of Cognition. “We’re thrilled to finally be able to release it to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: