Biological Origin of Schizophrenia Uncoveredadmin
A team of reserachers from Harvard Medical School (HMS), Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Broad Institute have published a study outlining the biologic and genetic roots of schizophrenia.
Published in Nature, the findings of the study were based on the genetic analysis of nearly 65,000 people. This is the first time the origin of this psychiatric disease has been casually linked to specific gene variants and a biological process, according to a statement issued by HMS. The team ultimately argued that the disease’s formation is likely linked to excess synaptic prunning, the process through which children’s brains get rid of unnecessary neurological connections as they age, Boston magazine reported. They also examined the MHC, a region of the human genome known to be related to schizophrenia, of the study participants and found that people with schizophrenia are more likely to have a variant of the C4 gene, C4-A, which is produced by the MHC.
Having overactive C4-A isn’t enough on it’s own to cause schizophrenia, but it could contribute to the excess synaptic pruning that potentially results in schizophrenia. “Given that schizophrenia often manifests during adolescence, around the same time as synaptic pruning, the connection seems significant,” Boston writes.
While the researchers stress that these findings won’t immediately lead to new treatments for schizophrenia, a deeper understanding of this disease may help advance research about the condition.