Navigation Links
Brain tissue reveals possible genetic trigger for schizophrenia

A study led by scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill may have identified a molecular mechanism involved in the development of schizophrenia.

In studying the postmortem brain tissue of adults who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, the researchers found that levels of certain gene-regulating molecules called microRNAs were lower among schizophrenia patients than in persons who were free of psychiatric illness.

"In many genetic diseases, such as Huntington's disease or cystic fibrosis, the basis is a gene mutation that leads to a malformed protein. But with other complex genetic disorders ?such as schizophrenia, many cancers, and diabetes ?we find not mutated proteins, but correctly formed proteins in incorrect amounts," said study lead author and UNC professor of psychiatry Dr. Diana Perkins.

The research appears this week in the online edition of the journal Genome Biology. "To our knowledge this study is the first to associate altered expression of microRNAs with schizophrenia," the authors stated.

Since the 1950s, scientists have known that the genetic code stored in DNA is first transcribed into messenger RNA (mRNA) which is then the template from which the body's protein building blocks are made. MicroRNAs are a newly discovered class of mRNA that does not carry the code for a protein. Instead, these tiny strands of RNA act by binding to matching pieces of the protein coding mRNA, thus preventing the translation of mRNA to protein. When a cell needs certain proteins, the microRNAs may disconnect, thus allowing protein expression to resume.

Using postmortem prefrontal cortical brain tissue of people with schizophrenia and persons who had no psychiatric illness, the researchers found for the first time a significant difference in the microRNA expression profile. Fifteen microRNAs were expressed at a lower level and one at a higher level in the brain tissue from persons with schizophre nia. The basic activity of this "executive" brain region is the orchestration of thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals.

Previous studies have shown that microRNAs play a role in regulating brain development. They also figure importantly in "synaptic plasticity," the ability of neurons to make connections with one another. "And those connections between neurons come and go all the time. It's a normal process for them to be pruned and grow again, depending on what the brain needs to do to interact with the environment," Perkins explained.

"There is growing evidence that schizophrenia may related to disordered synaptic plasticity," she added. "Our study found a striking, significant difference in microRNA expression between people with schizophrenia and healthy people. Using bioinformatic analyses, we found that the distinguishing microRNAs appear to regulate genes involved in synaptic plasticity."

Acknowledging this was a pilot study, Perkins and her colleagues plan further research with larger tissue samples.


'"/>

Source:University of North Carolina School of Medicine


Related biology news :

1. Drug That Tags Decision-making Areas Of The Brain May Aid
2. NYU Study Reveals How Brains Immune System Fights Viral Encephalitis
3. Transport System Smuggles Medicines Into Brain
4. Bird Brains Show How Trial and Error May Contribute to Learning
5. VCU Researchers Identify Networks Of Genes Responding To Alcohol In The Brain
6. Wiley announces publication of Databasing the Brain
7. Scientists Propose Sweeping Changes to Naming of Bird Neurosystems to Acknowledge Their True Brainpower
8. Brain-mapping technique aids understanding of sleep, wakefulness
9. Some Brain Cells Change Channels To Fine-tune The Message
10. Brain Scans Reveal How Gene May Boost Schizophrenia Risk
11. Brain-injury rehabilitation depends on acetylcholine circuitry
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a ... the MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) ... large-scale multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple ... using any combination of fingerprint, face or iris ... MegaMatcher SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... 2016 First quarter 2016:   ... with the first quarter of 2015 The gross margin ... (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% (-13) ... Cash flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , ... unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for 2016 ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... 27, 2016 Research and ... Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics ... during the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics ... such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... 27, 2016  Global demand for enzymes is ... 2020 to $7.2 billion.  This market includes enzymes ... products, biofuel production, animal feed, and other markets) ... biocatalysts). Food and beverages will remain the largest ... consumption of products containing enzymes in developing regions.  ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Cancer experts from ... believe could be a new and helpful biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Surviving ... to read it now. , Biomarkers are components in the blood, tissue ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... will join the faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business ... strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s international ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016  Regular discussions on a range of subjects ... the two entities said Poloz. Speaking at a ... , he pointed to the country,s inflation target, which ... "In certain areas ... have common economic goals, why not sit down and address ...
Breaking Biology Technology: