NARSAD Grantees Identify New Genetic Mutations that Cause Schizophrenia

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
Maria Karayiorgou, M.D., Professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and acting chief, divisatric and Medical Genetics, New York State Psychiatric Institute
Maria Karayiorgou, M.D.

NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grantee,  Maria Karayiorgou, M.D., and NARSAD Young Investigator Grantee, Joseph A. Gogos, M.D., Ph.D, are the authors of a new study that identified dozens of new gene mutations that play a significant role in the development of schizophrenia. The study, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, was published October 3rd in the online edition of the journal Nature Genetics and helps to explain both the persistence of schizophrenia and its high global prevalence.

The new study by these Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers, builds on their previous research that found that new, or “de novo,” protein-altering mutations, which are genetic errors that exist in patients but not in their parents, played a role in more than 50 percent of sporadic cases of schizophrenia. The findings inform epidemiologic studies showing that environmental factors, such as malnutrition or infections during pregnancy, can contribute to the development of schizophrenia. 

Dr.  Karayiorgou, who is a professor of psychiatry at CUMC, and acting chief, division of Psychiatric and Medical Genetics, New York State Psychiatric Institute, said that their findings "provide a mechanism that could explain how prenatal environmental insults during the first and second trimester of pregnancy increase one's risk for schizophrenia. Patients with these mutations were much more likely to have had behavioral abnormalities, such as phobias and anxiety in childhood, as well as worse disease outcome."

According to the researchers, the challenge remains to identify the affected biological processes and neural circuits, and to determine how they are affected.

Read the press release on this research

Read More about the research of Doctors Karayiorgou and Gogos

Add new comment

comments

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Please note that researchers cannot give specific recommendations or advice about treatment; diagnosis and treatment are complex and highly individualized processes that require comprehensive face-to- face assessment. Please visit our "Ask an Expert" section to see a list of Q & A with NARSAD Grantees.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.