June 11, 2013
Epigenetic Changes Mediated By Homocysteine Levels In Plasma May Point To Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia, a chronic and devastating disorder characterized by the breakdown of cognition processes and typical emotional and behavioral responses, has been affecting people throughout history. Scientists believe that several genes are associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia but that no single gene causes the disease by itself. It is likely that interactions between genes and the environment are necessary for schizophrenia to develop and that epigenetic change also plays a role. Researchers from the University of Tokushima in Japan have published in the June issue of Epigenetics a study that suggests that homocysteine (one of the building blocks of proteins) plays a role in the pathogenesis of the disease via an epigenetic mechanism that controls the expression of genes. Elevated levels of homocysteine in plasma have been associated with a number of disease states, and this study provides more evidence for it being a risk factor for schizophrenia as well.