View Full Version : Stray Prenatal Gene Network Suspected in Schizophrenia

08-06-13, 11:57 AM
This was in my email this morning from the NIMH, an interesting and potentially valuable piece of research on schizophrenia ( From the article:

Researchers have reverse-engineered the outlines of a disrupted prenatal gene network in schizophrenia (, by tracing spontaneous mutations to where and when they likely cause damage in the brain. Some people with the brain disorder may suffer from impaired birth of new neurons, or neurogenesis, in the front of their brain during prenatal development, suggests the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health.“Processes critical for the brain’s development can be revealed by the mutations that disrupt them,” explained Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., ( University of Washington (UW), Seattle, a grantee of the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). “Mutations can lead to loss of integrity of a whole pathway, not just of a single gene. Our results implicate networked genes underlying a pathway responsible for orchestrating neurogenesis in the prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia.”
King, and collaborators at UW and seven other research centers participating in the NIMH genetics repository, report on their discovery August 1, 2013 in the journal Cell.

“By linking genomic findings to functional measures, this approach gives us additional insight into how early development differs in the brain of someone who will eventually manifest the symptoms of psychosis,” said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D.

This information might help interrupt the development of schizophrenia, direct more effective treatments, and might also provide a way to reverse-engineer other neurodevelopmental disorders to trace back their origins. All of this means a greater understanding of the brain, and better ways towards early intervention strategies.