March 24, 2010

Irish Examiner

24th March 2010 

Trinity College Dublin scientists have identified genes that may lead to a cure for schizophrenia and bipolar disease which affect one in 50 adults.

Treatments are available for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, "but response is variable and the underlying biology remains elusive," the researchers state.

"Identifying the molecular basis of these disorders as a means of advancing diagnostics and developing new treatments is a key goal in mental health research," they added.

The study, led by TCD researchers compared hun- dreds of thousands of ge- netic markers between cases and controls in a sample of almost 15,000 people.

Dr Aiden Corvin, Science Foundation Ireland principal investigator and head of the psychosis re- search group at TCD, said: "This is a really intriguing rinding, which suggests that regulation of brain wiring is playing a signifi- cant role in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

"What is surprising is that some of the genes have previously been im- plicated in disorders of language and autism, suggesting this regulatory pro- cess is critical to the development of many different neuro-developmental dis- orders which until now we have considered separate- ly," he said.

The genes identified are those belonging to the Cell Adhesion Molecule (CAM) pathway. A path- way is a group of genes which are involved in key biological processes.

The researchers arefocussing on how thisnormal process is beingdisrupted and whether thiseffect can be reversed.

The study involved substantial cooperation fromresearchers across Europeand the US, in particularfrom the InternationalSchizophrenia Consortium, Genetic AssociationInformation Network and"Wellcome Trust CaseControl Consortium.

The research was fundedby Science FoundationIreland and the HealthResearch Board.