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Genes Underscore 5 Psychiatric Disorders
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Genes Underscore 5 Psychiatric Disorders

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Highlights:
  • Doctors have discovered that a common set of genes in the brain are the underlying cause of five psychiatric disorders
  • Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder (MDD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) share a common genetic link
  • The shared biological pathways of these genes in the brain affect different functions in the brain including synaptic firing and communication
  • Knowing the biological mechanisms and pathways of these diseases can lead to precise treatments and make way for personalized medicine in psychiatric healthcare

Common set of genes may be responsible for psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder (MDD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

A group of doctors at the University of Queensland and Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam studied the molecular genetics of 400,000 individuals to probe the common set of genes behind five psychiatric disorders.

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Genes Underscore 5 Psychiatric Disorders

According to UQ psychiatrist Professor Christel Middeldorp, they had observed many members of the same family present with different psychiatric disorders, so there was a hunch that a common set of genes were expressed. The need to identify shared biological and molecular pathways of these disorders are crucial to find new treatments and therapies.

Details of the Study

The group used genome-wide data of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder major depressive disorder (MDD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They had a total of 159219 cases with 262481 controls. They used gene set analysis (GSA), which is also known as pathway analysis.

In this method, genes are clustered into gene sets based on shared biological or functional properties like molecular interactions, regulation, molecular products or phenotype associations.
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The GSA included 7372 gene sets and 53 tissue-type specific gene-expression profiles to identify and understand the common set of genes underlying the disease mechanism of these five disorders.

Results of the Study

The team identified a total of 19 gene sets associated with these five disorders of which they excluded five, which were mostly associated with schizophrenia

Clearly, the study indicated that a common set of genes play a major role in these five disorders as they have a common biological/molecular pathway or are active in the same tissue types.

The shared biological pathways of these genes in the brain affect different functions in the brain including synaptic firing and communication.

Implications for the Future

The results of this study are significant as it can pave the way for newer drugs to treat these five psychiatric disorders.

Knowing the biological mechanisms and pathways of these diseases can lead to precise treatments and make way for personalized medicine in psychiatric healthcare.

Reference :
  1. Hammerschlag, Anke R., Christiaan A. de Leeuw, Christel M. Middeldorp, and Tinca JC Polderman. "Synaptic and brain-expressed gene sets relate to the shared genetic risk across five psychiatric disorders." Psychological Medicine (2019): 1-11. Accessed on 30 July 2019 from - (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/psychological-medicine/article/synaptic-and-brainexpressed-gene-sets-relate-to-the-shared-genetic-risk-across-five-psychiatric-disorders/73114566C699FA78AB07B6DE7A6775BC#)


Source: Medindia
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