Diseases such as autism or schizophrenia may be associated with certain molecular mechanisms in the brain, a discovery that deepens the understanding of the brain and can lead to new therapies for neuropsychiatric diseases, according to science.
More than a dozen institutions around the world have collaborated in the most complete brain analysis so far that summarizes the molecular effects of certain genetic variants on the brain with autism spectrum diseases and schizophrenia.
Since the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2013, researchers have discovered genetic variants-small changes in the DNA sequence, so there are not two identical genomes associated with neuropsychiatric diseases, and these studies reveal new mechanisms of these diseases. The research series published Thursday "contains a roadmap for the development of a new generation of treatments for psychiatric diseases", according to a Los Angeles University Los Angeles Declaration (UCLA) statement.
This work "provides some missing connections that were necessary to understand the mechanisms of psychiatric disease," says Dr. Daniel Geschwind from UCLA and leads the author of two of the ten studies. Everyone is addicted to the PsychENCODE Consortium, an interdisciplinary effort established in 2015 and dedicated to discovering the molecular mechanisms underlying schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism spectrum disorders.
In the last decade, researchers conducted genetic studies in people with psychiatric diseases and compared them with those of healthy individuals to find out which genes have different sequences in the first, although their results often led to more questions than answers.
Experts not only discovered the existence of genes associated with these diseases but also that hundreds of DNA regions between the genes – called regulatory DNA – also seemed to have a relationship.
Researchers know that these DNA regulation sections can control when and how genes are turned on and off but find out which "regulatory regions" affect which genes and thus the RNA and the proteins encoded by the genes. " It's not easy. "
The set of new data – essentially a detailed model of the human brain's internal molecular function – is now available as a starting point for other researchers to study the mechanisms of disease and the possible goals of the drugs.
"This resource is so wide that they can start by selecting a disease associated with a genetic variant and going deep to find out which molecular molecules have on the brain," said Geschwind.