Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Epigenetic changes in blood samples may point to schizophrenia

Date:
March 27, 2012
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
Researchers have identified epigenetic changes – known as DNA methylation – in the blood of patients with schizophrenia. The researchers were also able to detect differences depending on how old the patients were when they developed the disease and whether they had been treated with various drugs. In the future this new knowledge may be used to develop a simple test to diagnose patients with schizophrenia.

In a new study, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have identified epigenetic changes -- known as DNA methylation -- in the blood of patients with schizophrenia. The researchers were also able to detect differences depending on how old the patients were when they developed the disease and whether they had been treated with various drugs. In the future this new knowledge may be used to develop a simple test to diagnose patients with schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is one of our most common chronic psychiatric diseases and affects 1% of the population. It is already known that the risk of developing schizophrenia increases if one has close family members who have had the disease. At the same time, studies on identical twins, who therefore have the same genetic make-up, show that 50% of the disease risk can be explained by genetic factors. This in turn suggests that environmental factors, which include epigenetic changes to the genome, account for the remaining 50% of the cause of the disease.

"Epigenetics involves small reversible chemical changes, for instance in the form of methyl groups that bind to certain DNA sequences in the genome, that can consequently modifythe function of the DNA," says Professor Tomas Ekstrφm, who has directed the study at the Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM). "The research results we are now presenting suggest that epigenetic mechanisms are of great importance in mental illness. It is particularly interesting that these changes can also be linked to age at disease onset."

The current study, which is published in the scientific journal FASEB Journal, shows that the methylation levels in DNA in the white blood cells from individuals who suffer from schizophrenia are substantially lower than normal and that the degree of methylation is related to age of disease onset and the severity of the disease. The researchers also compared the degree of methylation in samples from patients who had been treated with various types of drugs. It emerged that treatment with one type of antipsychotic drug could influence the levels of DNA methylation in the blood cells towards more normal levels. In their article in FASEB Journal, the researchers at CMM note that at present there is no biomarker for schizophrenia that is suitable for clinical sampling. An interesting area of application for the new knowledge may therefore be to develop a simple test of this kind to diagnose schizophrenia, and to monitor how patients respond to the treatment they receive.

"The fact that DNA methylation in an ordinary blood sample can be used as a marker of the severity of schizophrenia opens up completely new opportunities," says Professor Martin Schalling, one of the researchers behind the study. "But follow-up studies are needed to clarify, for example, whether choice of treatment can be linked to this type of test."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. P. A. Melas, M. Rogdaki, U. Osby, M. Schalling, C. Lavebratt, T. J. Ekstrom. Epigenetic aberrations in leukocytes of patients with schizophrenia: association of global DNA methylation with antipsychotic drug treatment and disease onset. The FASEB Journal, 2012; DOI: 10.1096/fj.11-202069

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Epigenetic changes in blood samples may point to schizophrenia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120327124235.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2012, March 27). Epigenetic changes in blood samples may point to schizophrenia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120327124235.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Epigenetic changes in blood samples may point to schizophrenia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120327124235.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stroke in Young Adults

Stroke in Young Adults

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) — A stroke can happen at any time and affect anyone regardless of age. This mother chose to give her son independence and continue to live a normal life after he had a stroke at 18 years old. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Distracted Adults: ADHD?

Distracted Adults: ADHD?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) — Most people don’t realize that ADHD isn’t just for kids. It can affect the work as well as personal lives of many adults, and often times they don’t even know they have it. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Sight and Sounds of Autism

The Sight and Sounds of Autism

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) — A new study is explaining why for some people with autism what they see and what they hear is out of sync. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) — A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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