Researchers have found that different sets of genetic variations lead to distinct clinical syndromes. This has advanced the theory that schizophrenia is a group of eight genetically distinct disorders. The news was published online September 15 in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The research was conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
It's thought about 80 percent of the risk for schizophrenia is inherited yet specific genes for the condition have been hard to identify. The study had more than 4,000 people with schizophrenia and identified distinct gene clusters. These clusters contribute to eight different classes of schizophrenia.
Robert Cloninger, MD, PhD, one of the study's senior investigators likens this interplay of genes to an orchestra whose members interact with each other to create music.
While individual genes have weak and inconsistent links with schizophrenia, the groups of interacting gene clusters create a consistent risk of illness: at 70 to 100 percent.
The research team organized the genetic variations and the patients' symptoms into groups. This enabled the researchers to see "that particular clusters of DNA variations acted together to cause specific types of symptoms."
The researchers identified 42 clusters of genetic variations. These 42 clusters significantly increased the risk of schizophrenia. It's like the illness is a cacophony of noise not a symphony of sound.
The hope is that identifying the gene variations that work together will be a road to finding ways to improve diagnosis and treatment.
("Schizophrenia not a single disease but multiple genetically distinct disorders" retrieved on September 28, 2014 from http://medicalexpress.com/news/...)
Published On: September 28, 2014