Schizophrenia (SCZ) and Bipolar Affective Disorder (BPAD) are complex neuropsychiatric disorders that are likely, at least in part, to share a common genetic aetiology. Several linkage scans for both disorders have highlighted the chromosomal region 22q11-13 as being likely to harbour at least one susceptibility locus. One candidate gene in this region is MLC1 (megalencephalic leukoencephalopathy with subcortical cysts 1), a putative nonselective cation channel gene that is widely expressed in the brain. MLC1 is a promising candidate gene for both disorders given its role in the modulation of neuronal functions and its postulated involvement in periodic catatonic schizophrenia.
In a forthcoming article in the journal Biological Psychiatry, Ranjana Verma and colleagues at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi, India, report how they screened the gene for the presence of sequence variants and examined these polymorphisms in a cohort of SCZ/BPAD patients from Southern India using both case-control and family-based association approaches.
By sequencing all 13 exons and flanking intronic sequences of MLC1, the researchers identified 33 sequence variants. Analyses of these polymorphisms individually, and in multi-marker haplotypes, provided evidence that MLC1 is involved in the pathogenesis of both SCZ and BPAD, suggesting that there may be an aetiological pathway common to both disorders. The authors note, however, that as many genes are thought to play a role in complex disorders like SCZ and BPAD, the existence of other predisposition genes for both these disorders on chromosome 22 near MLC1 cannot be ruled out.
Link to Biological Psychiatry
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