MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Panagiotis (Panos) Roussos, MD, PhD
Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences and Department of Psychiatry
Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology
Friedman Brain Institute
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
The Leon and Norma Hess Center for Science and Medicine
New York, NY 10029
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Schizophrenia is a complex neuropsychiatric illness and multiple genetic risk factors contribute to the disease. However, it is unclear how these genetic risk factors act and which molecular functions are affected in brain cells of patients with schizophrenia. In this study, we used neurons derived from pluripotent stem cells of patients with schizophrenia and control samples with no history of neuropsychiatric disease. We identified changes related to the way DNA transcribes (a.k.a. gene expression) in schizophrenia compared to controls during activation of the neurons.
These changes affect genes that have been genetically associated with schizophrenia. Our study provides evidence that multiple genetic risk factors might lead to schizophrenia because of a damaging effect on the activity of neurons.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The development of new technologies, including generation of neurons from pluripotent stem cells of patients with schizophrenia and global analysis of gene expression allows us to better understand the molecular functions affected in schizophrenia.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: In future studies, it is necessary to include hundreds of patients with schizophrenia so the effect of individual variations of DNA on the way neurons function can be studied. A better understanding of schizophrenia will be obtained if additional molecular functions, besides gene expression, such as epigenetic changes are examined in future research.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Roussos P, Guennewig B, Kaczorowski DC, Barry G, Brennand KJ. Activity-Dependent Changes in Gene Expression in Schizophrenia Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Neurons. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online October 12, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.2575
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