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Thursday, December 08, 2022

Genetic inflammation linked to neuropsychiatric disease CanIndia News

UK researchers have identified a possible link between inflammation and the structure of specific areas of the brain, which could help in the treatment of neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum and schizophrenia.

According to the study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, the findings may open up an entirely new target for the pharmacological treatment of these disorders, which has not changed significantly since the introduction of antipsychotic drugs in the mid-20th century.

Researchers from the University of Birmingham showed that genes associated with inflammation, specifically interleukin (IL) 6, are associated with a decrease in gray matter volume in certain areas of the brain that are implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders.

In the study, the team was able to compare genetic variants in more than 20,000 patients with changes in gray matter volume in specific areas of the brain that affect levels of IL-6, and other inflammation genes.

They were able to show strong links between IL-6 and brain structure, particularly in the temporal and frontal regions.

Further analysis using the Allen Human Brain Atlas revealed that genes overexpressed in these regions are associated with conditions such as epilepsy, cognitive dysfunction, and schizophrenia.

“This study shows that the IL-6 gene, which we know to be associated with systemic inflammation, also affects brain structure in regions associated with these neuropsychiatric disorders. Serious mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, have been identified over 60 years.” This could be the first new target for cancer,” said Professor Rachel Apthegrove at the university’s Institute of Mental Health.

Current treatments for these diseases act on dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain associated with mood and attention.

However, these drugs can have side effects, and they are not effective in all patients.

“There are already drugs on the market that target inflammation as well as an opportunity to screen potential new compounds. The relationship between inflammation, brain structure and neuropsychiatric disorders,” said John Williams of the Institute for Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the university. Finding a new way to explore is really exciting.

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