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Shared genetics in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

Genetic variant may impact how the brain regulates emotions

Society for Neuroscience

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IMAGE: A genetic variant implicated in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia is associated with larger amygdala volume and altered prefrontal-limbic connectivity. view more 

Credit: Stéphane Jamain (data from diffusion-imaging.com)

A genetic variant associated with multiple psychiatric disorders drives changes in a brain network that may increase an individual's risk of developing bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, finds a study published in JNeurosci.

Stéphane Jamain and colleagues used genetic analysis and neuroimaging in samples of adults with schizophrenia, early-onset bipolar disorder and healthy controls -- in addition to postmortem analysis of brain tissue from schizophrenia patients -- to demonstrate that a variant of a gene involved in neurotransmission is associated with both disorders. They found that this genetic variation changes the expression of the SNAP25 protein in the brain, which may impact information processing between brain regions involved in regulating emotions. Consistent with this idea, the variant was associated with larger amygdala volume and altered prefrontal-limbic connectivity.

The authors replicated these findings in independent samples, minimizing the potential for false positives and increasing confidence in their results. The research confirms a shared genetic component of these disorders and points to a potentially new condition that may arise in patients with varying diagnoses in which this gene is implicated, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

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Article: A multi-level functional study of a SNAP25 at-risk variant for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1040-17.2017

Corresponding author: Stéphane Jamain (Inserm U955, Institut Mondor de Recherches Biomédicales, Psychiatrie Translationnelle, Créteil, France), stephane.jamain@inserm.fr

About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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