Navigation Links
Scientists dig deeper into the genetics of schizophrenia by evaluating microRNAs
Date:5/11/2008

NEW YORK Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have illuminated a window into how abnormalities in microRNAs, a family of molecules that regulate expression of numerous genes, may contribute to the behavioral and neuronal deficits associated with schizophrenia and possibly other brain disorders.

In the May 11 issue of Nature Genetics, Maria Karayiorgou, M.D., professor of psychiatry, and Joseph A. Gogos, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of physiology and neuroscience at Columbia University Medical Center explain how they uncovered a previously unknown alteration in the production of microRNAs of a mouse modeled to have the same chromosome 22q11.2 deletions previously identified in humans with schizophrenia.

Weve known for some time that individuals with 22q11.2 microdeletions are at high risk of developing schizophrenia, said Karayiorgou, who was instrumental in identifying deletions of 22q11.2 as a primary risk factor for schizophrenia in humans several years earlier. By digging further into this chromosome, we have been able to see at the gene expression level that abnormalities in microRNAs can be linked to the behavioral and cognitive deficits associated with the disease.

The investigators modeled mice to have the same genetic deletion as the one observed in some individuals with schizophrenia and examined what happens in the expression of over 30,000 genes in specific areas of the brain. When they discovered that the gene family of microRNAs was affected, they suspected that the Dgcr8 gene was responsible. The Dgcr8 gene is one of the 27 included in the 22q11.2 microdeletion and has a critical role in microRNA production, so this was a logical hypothesis. Indeed, when they produced a mouse deficient for the Dgcr8 gene, and tested it on a variety of cognitive, behavioral and neuroanatomical tests, they observed the same deficits often observed in people with schizophrenia.

Our studies show that alterations in microRNA processing result in synaptic and behavioral deficits, said Dr. Gogos. Drs. Karayiorgou and Gogos have partnered together to decipher the role of individual genes from 22q11 in the development of schizophrenia by using human genetics and animal model approaches.

The significance of this work is that it implicates a completely novel, previously unsuspected group of susceptibility genes and brings investigators a step closer to understanding the biological mechanisms of this disorder. Implication of such a large family of genes (the most recent estimate puts the number of human microRNAs at at least 400 that influence the expression of as many as a third of all genes) could partly account for the genetic complexity associated with this devastating disorder and explain some of the difficulties that the researchers have encountered in their efforts to pinpoint individual genes.

Our hope is that the more we know about the genes involved in schizophrenia, the more targeted treatment can be, said Dr. Gogos.

Much in the way that cancer patients who have tested for a particular gene, such as BRAC1, can be tested and then treated with protocols designed specifically for them, we want to be able to know enough about the schizophrenic brain to target treatments to individual patients.

The next step for the researchers is to find the many genes whose expression is controlled by the identified deficient microRNAs, which could in turn be involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Much more study and identification of other genetic variants must be done to further illuminate the diseases genetic underpinnings, according to Drs. Karayiorgou and Gogos.


'/>"/>

Contact: Susan Craig
sc2756@columbia.edu
212-305-9746
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Scientists endure Arctic for last campaign prior to CryoSat-2 launch
2. Scientists discover why plague is so lethal
3. UF scientists discover compound that could lead to new blood pressure drugs
4. UIC scientists discover how some bacteria survive antibiotics
5. Scientists aim to boost world energy supplies -- with microbes!
6. Scientists determine drug target for the most potent botulinum neurotoxin
7. Scientists make chemical cousin of DNA for use as new nanotechnology building block
8. Scientists find stem cells for the first time in the pituitary
9. Brown scientists say biodiversity is crucial to ecosystem productivity
10. Scientists urged to make a stand on climate change
11. Scientists clarify a mechanism of epigenetic inheritance
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Scientists dig deeper into the genetics of schizophrenia by evaluating microRNAs
(Date:3/31/2016)... 31, 2016   ... the "Company") LegacyXChange is excited to release ... soon to be launched online site for trading 100% ... ) will also provide potential shareholders a sense of ... to an industry that is notorious for fraud. The ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... March 23, 2016 ... Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern ... (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein führender Anbieter ... Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals dessen ... wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen mobiler ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... March 22, 2016 Unique ... passcodes for superior security   ... provider of secure digital communications services, today announced it ... and offer enterprise customers, particularly those in the Financial ... and voice authentication within a mobile app, alongside, and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... PBI-Gordon Corporation is pleased to ... , Doug began his career at PBI-Gordon in February 1988, after finishing his ... variety of roles, ranging from customer service to national product manager, to helping develop, ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... In a list published by the Boston ... 76 fastest-growing private companies; a small percentage of the state's 615,000+ small businesses. The ... percent change in revenue from 2012 to 2015. , As this award ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... 03, 2016 , ... Wearable Tech + Digital Health ... take place on June 7-8, 2016, at the New York Academy of Sciences.  , ... -- including AR/VR, machine learning, apps, robotics and AI -- throughout a major health ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... Nashville ... IVF laboratories. A contingency of reproductive endocrinologists, including Dr. George Hill ... infertility and to help them build families. , Ovation Fertility is a nationwide ...
Breaking Biology Technology: