Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Surprises Found In Gene Variation Associated With Schizophrenia

Date:
April 12, 2004
Source:
University Of Iowa
Summary:
Approximately 2 percent of Caucasians have a gene segment variation that can cause a certain form of schizophrenia. Most people with the variation, known as a polymorphism, do not have the disease. A University of Iowa Health Care study reveals a good prognosis for people who do have this form of schizophrenia.

Approximately 2 percent of Caucasians have a gene segment variation that can cause a certain form of schizophrenia. Most people with the variation, known as a polymorphism, do not have the disease. A University of Iowa Health Care study reveals a good prognosis for people who do have this form of schizophrenia. The team also found that this polymorphism is associated with overall benefits for human survival, and the initial mutation occurred in a single common ancestor about 100,000 years ago.

The findings have implications for finding better ways to treat this particular type of schizophrenia and possibly augmenting the positive influences of the polymorphism on human survival. The findings also point the way for studying other gene defects. The UI Research Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) share a patent for this X-chromosome gene polymorphism, known as HOPA12pb. The study results appeared in the February 11 online issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics.

"While this polymorphism makes us more vulnerable to a certain illness, in this case schizophrenia, overall it is evolutionarily beneficial," said Robert Philibert, M.D., Ph.D., UI associate professor of psychiatry in the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and the study's principal investigator.

"Traditionally, genes that are selected for human evolution affect two things -- resistance to infection and infant survival. This gene may be involved in both of these positive features," Philibert added.

While nearly one in 50 people of European extraction has the HOPA polymorphism, only a small minority of people with the variant gene sequence actually have schizophrenia. About one in 30 men with the particular polymorphism has the condition. Men are more likely than women to have this form of schizophrenia because the gene is X-chromosome linked.

People with HOPA-linked schizophrenia may have hallucinations. However, they do not have the "negative" symptoms found with most other forms of schizophrenia, such as compromised thinking, decreased attention and loss of emotion.

"We knew the gene causes a specific form of schizophrenia, but we didn't know that the type was associated with a good prognosis and marked by absence of negative symptoms," Philibert said. "Most individuals with this positive symptom schizophrenia are able to function in society and hold down jobs."

He added that the gene cannot by itself cause schizophrenia but must interact with other genes and environmental factors to result in illness. In addition to sometimes leading to schizophrenia, it also can cause hypothyroidism or obesity.

"It is critical to understand those interactions. If we can modulate them, we may be able to block the ill effects of this gene and keep the beneficial aspects," Philibert said.

HOPA stands for Human Opposite Paired Element. It was first isolated in 1994, when Philibert worked at the NIH.

"There are at least 25 genes in the gene complex in which HOPA participates. Several of the genes are known to be involved with other forms of human illness. Because this polymorphism is relatively common and because we have human models of it, it can be used as a paradigm to understand those other gene defects," Philibert added.

The type of evolutionary advantage -- resistance to disease -- that the UI team saw in the HOPA polymorphism also can be seen in a polymorphism linked to sickle cell anemia. In that condition, one copy of the polymorphism causes mild cell abnormalities but also provides resistance to malaria and thus promotes human survival. However, two copies of the variant gene cause the debilitating disease sickle cell anemia.

###

In addition to Philibert's contributions, the UI study included work by Nancy C. Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D., the Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at the UI. Raymond Crowe, M.D., the George Winokur Professor of Psychiatry at the UI, also provided assistance with the investigation.

Funding for the study included a grant from the Nellie Ball Trust for Schizophrenia Research, a grant from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression and several grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (part of the NIH).

The abstract for the study is available online at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/107614465/ABSTRACT

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at http://www.uihealthcare.com.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Iowa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Iowa. "Surprises Found In Gene Variation Associated With Schizophrenia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040412012037.htm>.
University Of Iowa. (2004, April 12). Surprises Found In Gene Variation Associated With Schizophrenia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040412012037.htm
University Of Iowa. "Surprises Found In Gene Variation Associated With Schizophrenia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040412012037.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) A Google Glass user was treated for Internet Addiction Disorder caused from overuse of the device. Morgan Manousos (@MorganManousos) has the details on how many hours he spent wearing the glasses, and what his symptoms were. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins