Washington: Multiple genes contribute to risk for schizophrenia and appear to function in pathways related to transmission of signals in the brain and immunity, an international study has discovered.By better understanding the molecular and biological mechanisms involved with schizophrenia, scientists hope to use this new genetic information to one day develop and design drugs that are more efficacious and have fewer side effects.The study led by Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy researchers used a comprehensive and unique approach to robustly identify genes and biological processes conferring risk for schizophrenia.The researchers first used 21,953 subjects to examine over a million genetic markers. They then systematically collected results from other kinds of biological schizophrenia studies and combined all these results using a novel data integration approach.The most promising genetic markers were tested again in a large collection of families with schizophrenia patients, a design that avoids pitfalls that have plagued genetic studies of schizophrenia in the past. The genes they identified after this comprehensive approach were found to have involvement in brain function, nerve cell development and immune response.
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