A team of researchers, including the researchers in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Patna has identified genes responsible for schizophrenia. The research was carried out under Etymologically Elusive Disorders Research Network (EEDRN) and published in the November issue of the peer-reviewed international journal ‘Frontiers in Psychiatry’.

The research was conducted by AIIMS Patna researchers along with the researchers of Medical University of South Carolina, USA, Langlone Medical Center, New York, and Aix Marseille University, France. 

“In the course of investigating the behaviour of neurones of some post mortem brain parts of schizophrenic patients, we detected 40 genes showing abnormal changes. The phenomenal changes in these ‘housekeeping’ genes indicated the cause of this disease,” says Dr Ashutosh Kumar, the leader of the research team.

Dr Kumar also added that bioinformatic analysis of the gene expression data generated from the key brain regions of post mortem patients identified patients identified a genetic signature involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. 

“Schizophrenia is still an unsolved psychiatric disorder involving 1% of the world population,” he added. Dr Ravi Kant Narayan of AIIMS Patna said brain regions like the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and striatum studied by the research team were associated with schizophrenia. He said further studies are in progress to ascertain whether the ‘signature genes’ were involved with causing other physical or psychological disorders.

Dr Vikas Pareek from National Brain Research Centre, Manesar said the findings were in coherence with the regional brain dysfunction evidence. 

Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness in which the patient complains of seeing or hearing unreal things and even relate bizarre stories as if they were real events. As the exact cause of this disease is unknown, scientists are not probing into the cytogenetic makeup of the patients to get the cause. “The team researched on about 50 post mortem brains in brains in different hospitals of India and the US and also analysed the bioinformatic data available on brain studies that helped in identifying the genes responsible for Schizophrenia disease”, Ravi Kanth Narayan said. 

Source: Times of India, Medical Dialogues. 

Kumar A, Pareek V, Singh HN, Faiq MA, Narayan RK, Raza K and Kumar P (2019) Altered Expression of a Unique Set of Genes Reveals Complex Etiology of Schizophrenia. Front. Psychiatry 10:906. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00906

   Send article as PDF