According to a new report, scientists may have found a rare gene mutation that is apparently linked to schizophrenia.
In a joint analysis between the University of California, San Diego and Trinity College Dublin, researchers performed a genome-wide association scan of copy number variants (CNV). Their findings, amongst other things, noted an unusual duplication on chromosome seven that appeared to be 14 times more common in people suffering from schizophrenia.
The portion that was impacted was the gene coding for the protein Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide Receptor 2 (VIPR2).
For the purpose of their study, researchers took into account what the levels of VIPR2 were in individuals who had schizophrenia and control groups. As per their findings, they noted that the expression and activity levels of the protein were greater in people with the particular DNA duplication.
Professor Aiden Corvin, a researcher involved in the study, had this to say on the matter:
“We know that this activity can be modulated by synthetic peptides (compounds where amino acids are linked together) and the next step is to see if these compounds have a therapeutic effect in mice or in cultured human cells that carry the VIPR2 gene mutation.”
“This discovery might be the best target yet to come out of genetic studies of mental illness,” said Dr Jonathan Sebat from the University of California, San Diego, leader of the study.
This study appeared in the journal Nature.
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