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Transition to psychosis associated with changes in DNA

The onset of psychosis may be associated with a complex interaction of genes related to psychosis and response to environmental changes.

A recent paper in Nature performed the first longitudinal study assessing changes in DNA during a psychotic transition in help-seeking young individuals (At Risk Mental State; ARMS) to possible early psychosis at 1-year follow-up.

The paper demonstrates that conversion to psychosis was associated with specific methylation changes. Methylation changes are modification to the function of an individual’s DNA. DNA is a complex chemical in cells that carries genetic information. Specifically, alterations occurred in gene promoters and pathways relevant for psychosis, including stress regulation, axon guidance, e.g. guiding information from different neurons, muscles and glands around the body, and inflammatory pathways.

These results demonstrate longitudinal variations in DNA modifications which may reflect the biological mechanisms which increase the transition from at risk mental state individuals to full-blown psychosis during adolescence.

Click here to read the full Nature article


By: Abigail Christine Wright
Last updated: Sunday, 22 May 2016

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