Researchers discover gene linked to schizophrenia

Two teams of researchers, one from the University of Queensland, Australia and one composed of Indian researchers, identified a gene, called NAPRT1, which is linked to schizophrenia. The study considered more than 3,000 Indian people, mostly belonging to ethnic descendants of European descent, whose genomes were analyzed.

Researchers have discovered more likely schizophrenia in people with a certain genetic variant. They identified the NAPRT1 gene, which encodes a particular enzyme that is responsible for the production of vitamin B3. By conducting experiments on zebrafish, and eliminating the NAPRT1 gene in the latter, the researchers noted that the development of the fish brain was compromised.

Specifically, the zebrafish brain could not symmetrically divide, as specified by Bryan Mowry of the Queensland Brain Institute, one of the authors of the study. Among other things, this would explain, according to the same researcher, why studies showed, in people with schizophrenia, defects in the corpus callosum, or the conjunction between the left and right sides of the brain in humans.

This study can help, according to Mowry, to clarify those causes that can lead or determine the state of schizophrenia and everything that makes people susceptible to this disease: “Now there are a multitude of genetic variants related to schizophrenia, but not we still know what the hundreds of genes involved are,” says Mowry, suggesting that many other studies will have to be carried out to fully understand the relationships between genes and schizophrenia.