Navigation Links
Scientists identify age-associated defects in schizophrenia
Date:3/1/2010

LA JOLLA, CA March 1, 2010 The underlying causes of the debilitating psychiatric disorder schizophrenia remain poorly understood. In a new study published online in Genome Research March 2, 2010, however, scientists report that a powerful gene network analysis has revealed surprising new insights into how gene regulation and age play a role in schizophrenia.

Researchers are actively working to identify the direct cause of schizophrenia, likely rooted in interactions between genes and the environment resulting in abnormal gene expression in the central nervous system. Scientists have been studying expression changes in schizophrenia on an individual gene basis, yet this strategy has explained only a portion of the genetic risk.

In the new work, a team of researchers led by Associate Professor Elizabeth Thomas of The Scripps Research Institute has taken a novel approach to this problem, performing a gene network-based analysis that revealed surprising insight into schizophrenia development.

The group analyzed gene expression data from the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain associated with schizophrenia, sampled post-mortem from normal individuals and schizophrenia patients ranging from 19 to 81 years old. However, instead of just looking at genes individually, Thomas and colleagues at the Scripps Translational Science Institute, Nicholas Schork and Ali Torkamani, considered interactions between genes, as well as groups of genes that showed similar patterns of expression, to identify dysfunctional cellular pathways in schizophrenia.

"Once gene co-expression networks are identified," said Thomas, "we can then ask how they are affected by factors such as age or drug treatment, or if they are associated with particular cell types in the brain."

The gene network analysis suggested that normal individuals and schizophrenia patients have an unexpectedly similar connectivity between genes, but the most surprising finding was a significant link between aging and gene expression patterns in schizophrenia. The team identified several groups of co-expressed genes that behaved differently in schizophrenia patients compared to normal subjects when age was considered.

A particularly striking age-related difference in co-expression was found in a group of 30 genes related to developmental processes of the nervous system. Normally these genes are turned off as a person ages, but in schizophrenia patients the genes remain active. This critical finding strongly suggests that age-related aberrant regulation of genes important for development can explain at least part of the manifestation of schizophrenia.

Thomas explained that these findings help to refine the developmental hypothesis of schizophrenia, which states that one or more pathogenic "triggers" occur during critical periods of development to increase risk of the disease. Specifically, this work indicates that abnormal gene expression in developmentally related genes might be a significant pathogenic trigger, occurring over a broader time-scale than expected.

"Rather than a pathological trigger occurring at a critical developmental time point," said Thomas, "the trigger is ongoing throughout development and aging."

Furthermore, Thomas noted that the new study supports early intervention and treatment of schizophrenia. Treatment approaches aimed at averting gene expression changes and altering the course of the disease could be specifically tailored to the age of the patient.


'/>"/>

Contact: Keith McKeown
kmckeown@scripps.edu
858-784-8134
Scripps Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. International team of scientists to meet in Panama to discuss future of the worlds forests
2. MSU scientists unlock key enzyme using newly created cool method
3. Scientists reveal driving force behind evolution
4. Hormone study gives scientists a sense of how animals bond
5. 78 scientists elected to the American Academy of Microbiology
6. U. of Colorado scientists create tiny RNA molecule with big implications for lifes origins
7. George Daley to discuss challenges and opportunities facing stem cell scientists
8. Scientists unlock mystery in important photosynthesis step
9. Scientists identify critical enzyme in healthy heart function
10. Sanford-Burnham scientists identify natural compound that inhibits cancer cell migration
11. Scientists discover molecular pathway for organ tissue regeneration and repair
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/26/2017)...  Crossmatch, a leading provider of security and identity ... combatting fraud, waste and abuse in assistance operations around ... on Disaster Relief conference in Panama City ... and foreign assistance organizations throughout Latin America ... a largely unacknowledged problem in the foreign assistance and ...
(Date:1/24/2017)...  It sounds simple and harmless—an electronic sensor ... signs and alerts parents on their smart phones ... drops. But pediatric experts argue that such devices ... evidence of medical benefits, especially to healthy babies. ... parents of healthy babies, promising peace of mind ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 2017 Sensory Inc ., a ... for consumer electronics, and i nnerCore ... cybersecurity solutions, today announced a global partnership that ... worldwide to bolster security of data sensitive mobile ... authentication platforms they offer, innerCore now offers its ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/21/2017)... ... February 21, 2017 , ... ... $200M operational capacity with its strategic internal leadership to provide clients with ... and operational management. With office locations in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Ohio, ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... -- Lexus, a returning partner of the Amgen Tour of California ... partner of the men,s and women,s events for the next five ... Tour of California will mark the start ... professional cycling teams in the world racing from Northern to ... Breakaway from Heart Disease TM Women,s Race empowered with ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global ... 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Bioplastics & Biopolymers Market is ... next decade to reach approximately $8.9 billion by 2025. ... all the given segments on global as well as regional levels ...
(Date:2/20/2017)... , Feb. 20, 2017 This report analyzes ... the following Product Types: Xylanase, Amylase, Cellulase, and Others. The ... Canada , Japan , ... Latin America , and Rest of World. ... Annual estimates and forecasts are provided for the period 2015 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: