Washington: A new study has identified 22 locations, including 13 that are newly discovered, that are believed to play a role in causing schizophrenia.
The genome-wide association study gives the researchers the clearest picture to date of two different pathways that might be going wrong in people with schizophrenia.
The results of the research conducted by lead author Patrick F. Sullivan- professor in the departments of Genetics and Psychiatry and director of the Center for Psychiatric Genomics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine- are based on a multi-stage analysis that began with a Swedish national sample of 5,001 schizophrenia cases and 6,243 controls, followed by a meta analysis of previous GWAS studies, and finally by replication of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 168 genomic regions in independent samples.
Sullivan said that one of the two pathways identified by the study is a calcium channel pathway.
This pathway includes the genes CACNA1C and CACNB2, whose proteins touch each other as part of an important process in nerve cells. The other is the "micro-RNA 137" pathway. This pathway includes its namesake gene, MIR137 - which is a known regulator of neuronal development - and at least a dozen other genes regulated by MIR137.
The study was published in the journal Nature Genetics.