Navigation Links
Twin study reveals epigenetic alterations of psychiatric disorders
Date:9/21/2011

In the first study to systematically investigate genome-wide epigenetic differences in a large number of psychosis discordant twin-pairs, research at the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King's College London provides further evidence that epigenetic processes play an important role in neuropsychiatric disease. Published in Human Molecular Genetics, the findings may offer potential new avenues for treatment.

Previous quantitative genetic analyses of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder reveal strong inherited components to both. However, although heritability for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is estimated at 70%, disease concordance between twin-pairs is far from 100%, indicating that non-genetic factors play an important role in the onset of the diseases.

Dr. Jonathan Mill, lead author of the study at the IoP says, 'We studied a group of 22 identical twin-pairs, so 44 individuals in all, one of the largest twin studies performed for any complex disease to date. In each twin-pair, one had either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Because we know that twins are genetically identical, we can rule out any genetic cause of illness in the affected twin the aim of our study was to investigate epigenetic variations associated with these disorders.'

Epigenetic mechanisms are linked to heritable, but reversible, changes in gene expression without a change in the underlying DNA sequence. This happens principally through alterations in DNA methylation and chromatin structure. Epigenetic changes in the brain have previously been associated with a range of biological and cognitive processes, including neurogenesis, drug addiction and neurodegeneration. It has also been suggested that epigenetic changes in the brain may be involved in a spectrum of psychiatric disorders including psychosis.

The researchers looked at differences in DNA methylation across the genome using DNA taken from both the affected and unaffected twins in each monozygotic twin-pair. The findings were then compared to DNA samples taken from post-mortem brain material from psychosis patients and controls.

Whilst the researchers found no alterations in overall DNA methylation content between affected and unaffected twins, there were considerable disease-associated differences between twins at specific sites across the genome. The findings confirmed previously known sites implicated in psychiatric disorders as well as revealing previously unknown ones.

Dr. Mill adds, 'Our findings suggest that it is not only genetic variations that are important. The epigenetic differences we see may tell us more about the causes or schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as some alterations were specific to either disease. Importantly, epigenetic processes are potentially reversible meaning that our research could open up new avenues for the development of novel therapeutic drugs.'


'/>"/>
Contact: Seil Collins
seil.collins@kcl.ac.uk
44-020-784-85377
King's College London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Long-term study shows effect of climate change on animal diversity
2. £2 million study to reveal workings of dementia genes
3. New study looks to define evangelicals and how they affect polling
4. CU-Boulder study suggests air quality regulations miss key pollutants
5. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
6. Study reveals homeowner perceptions in fire-prone areas
7. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
8. Study: urban black bears live fast, die young
9. New study indicates link between weight gains during pregnancy and dieting history
10. Study reveals specific gene in adolescent men with delinquent peers
11. Sweat it out: UH study examines ability of sweat patches to monitor bone loss
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/11/2017)... DES MOINES, Iowa , Jan. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... another industry first with the release of its patent-pending ... to quickly and reliably perform calibrations, securely upload data ... more flexibility for the customer. "Fighting drunk ... not only for the public at large, but also ...
(Date:1/6/2017)... , Jan. 5, 2017  SomaLogic announced ... "Digital Life Alliance" established by iCarbonX, the ... to build a "Global Digital Health Ecosystem that ... a combination of individual,s biological, behavioral and psychological ... agreement between the companies, SomaLogic will provide proteomics ...
(Date:1/4/2017)... 2017  CES 2017 – Valencell , the ... announced the launch of two new versions of ... biometric sensor modules that incorporate the best of ... expertise. The two new designs include Benchmark BE2.0, ... and Benchmark BW2.0, a 2-LED version of its ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/21/2017)... PARSIPPANY, N.J. , Jan. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... the "Company"), a company that provides clinically useful ... that it has entered into a securities purchase ... aggregate of 855,000 shares of common stock in ... placement, the Company has agreed to sell to ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... ... The two newest companies to join the University City Science Center’s Port ... The Wistar Institute, and Sanguis, launched by a trio of students from the University ... is developing a treatment for a chronic viral infection and its associated diseases, with ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... SpineFrontier, ... next evolution in spinal fusion, the MISquito Percutaneous Pedicle Screw System (part ... SpineFrontier is focused on technique driven product solutions that provide maximum efficiency ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire -- WuXi AppTec, ... open-access capability and technology platform, today announced that ... biology focused preclinical drug discovery contract research organization ... become a wholly-owned subsidiary of WuXi, and will ... and providing greater services. The acquisition will further ...
Breaking Biology Technology: