Disrupted genetic clocks in schizophrenia-affected brains reveal clues to the disease

ScienceDaily | 8/9/2019 | Staff
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The findings, published today by researchers from the Pitt's School of Medicine in the journal Nature Communications, also suggest that researchers studying schizophrenia-linked genes in the brain could have missed important clues that would help understand the disease.

"Our study shows for the first time that there are significant disruptions in the daily timing of when some genes are turned on or off, which has implications for how we understand the disease at a molecular level," said senior author Colleen McClung, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at Pitt's School of Medicine.

Functions - Cycle - Rhythm - Genes - Cells

Many bodily functions run on a 24-hour cycle, called a circadian rhythm, which extends to how genes are expressed within cells. Some genes turn on or off at certain times of the day or night.

In this study, McClung and colleagues analyzed gene expression data from the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex -- a brain region responsible for cognition and memory -- from 46 people with schizophrenia and 46 sex- and age-matched healthy subjects. The data was obtained from the CommonMind Consortium, a public-private partnership that has curated a rich brain tissue and data bank for studying neuropsychiatric disorders.

Time - Death - Researchers - Method - Changes

By knowing the time of death, the researchers were able to use a statistical method to determine changes in the rhythmicity of different genes, which revealed some interesting patterns.

McClung explained the findings by drawing an analogy of gene...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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