Both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder can be disabling conditions, and both present clinically with significant mood and psychotic symptoms. These two illnesses also share genetic variants that might be involved in the predisposition to both disorders.
A new study sought to analyze the patterns of gene expression in the brains of individuals diagnosed with one of these disorders to search for a common "characteristic [genetic] signature."
Using microarray gene expression, Drs. Ling Shao and Marquis Vawter tested whether there was a core set of genes shared in the predisposition or long term consequences of both illnesses. The researchers found 78 dysregulated genes, representing genes involved in nervous system development and cell death, which displayed differential expression compared to control subjects.
As Dr. Vawter further explains, "the pattern of dysregulation was similar in the prefrontal cortex for both illnesses and pointed to key processes. Part of the set of core genes could be explained by medication responses; however most of these core genes did not appear to be correlated to medication response."
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