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02 March 2005

Schizophrenia and bipolar link found

A new study finds a genetic link between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The new findings are outlined in the current issue of The Lancet.

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A new study finds a genetic link between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The new findings are outlined in the current issue of The Lancet.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge performed clinical studies on 15 brains affected by schizophrenia, 15 affected by bipolar disorder, and 15 with neither. Tests were performed to determine what genes are expressed in each. Gene expression leads to the production of a protein and the appearance of the characteristics controlled by that gene.

The research revealed similarities in the reduction of oligodendrocyte-related and myelin-related genes. Oligodendrocytes produce myelin, which is the coating that insulates part of nerve cells. The researchers also report changes in gene expression between both disorders that show a high degree of overlap.

The authors of the study write, "Our study also showed similar expression changes to the schizophrenia group in bipolar brains, which thus lends support to the notion that the disorders share common causative and pathophysiological pathways."

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