The University of Colorado Boulder is leading research linking mental disorders and genetic makeup

Eleven psychiatric disorders have been found to have a similar genetic makeup, which explains why an individual is more likely to have multiple psychiatric disorders in their lifetime, according to a study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

Research established from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, UK Biobank, iPSYCH and 23andMe was brought together by a large team of international collaborators to create four classes to demonstrate how the common genetic makeup of these mental disorders affects the individual in behavioral, functional and molecular genomics. genetic basis. These four categories are psychotic, neurodevelopmental, absorptive, and compulsive.

The research results have been published in the journal Nature Genetics.

Dr. Andrew Grotzinger, who was part of an international team and is a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, explained that after analyzing the data collected, the researchers discovered that there are thousands of genes that activate the disorders and that within these disorders, there is an overlap of the common genes. .

From there, the team studied summary statistics of genome-wide association studies to examine how each genetic variant was linked to disorders. They discovered that there are similarities between genes associated with disorders and individual behavior as they relate to socioeconomic, health, disease, personality, cognitive, and risk behavioral issues.

For example, they found that if someone had a low body mass index it could be linked to compulsive disorders. Anorexia nervosa, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Tourette’s syndrome are associated with “genetic predispositions to having a lower body mass index (which can) increase your risk of developing these three subgroups of disorders and not just the clinically defined disorder with low body weight (which is what Grotzinger said) “Anorexia nervosa”.

Internal disorders such as PTSD, major depression, and anxiety can be linked to genetic predispositions such as low back pain, asthma, and coronary artery disease.

“You may have a genetic predisposition to developing these disorders (which) are linked to lifestyle factors that increase your risk of developing these disorders or something like chronic back pain itself makes you more predisposed to depression,” Grotzinger said.

“So it’s not really clear what the pathway is. Like, are you depressed, and then it’s hard to get out of bed, that kind of thing, and then you’re more likely to have lower back pain or does lower back pain make people depressed?”

In addition, this study also helped researchers to deduce why certain disorders affect an individual’s health and personality traits. For example, endogenous disorders associated with major depression, anxiety, PTSD, compulsive disorders associated with anorexia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Tourette’s syndrome share the common factor that individuals tend to have lower BMI as well as have characteristics such as neuroticism, openness, and extraversion.

Psychotic diseases, which include bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, have been found to have genetic pathways with these specific genes: excitatory and GABAergic neurons.

“So what this does — it’s kind of starting to shed light on the specific biological pathways that might be involved across these disorders; specifically, these specific neurons that are kind of critical and equitable brain signaling pathways.

With these findings, Grotzinger hopes to be able to identify specific genetic risk pathways so that an individual can be diagnosed and treated more efficiently. The goal is to be able to give one person a diagnosis and treatment for the disorders they have rather than multiple disorders, if possible.

Currently, it is not possible to diagnose an individual with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. However, these two disorders have an overlap in genetic makeup – which means that an individual can have symptoms from both disorders.

Grotzinger hopes that diagnoses can be made in the future “less kind of book.” In addition, there may also be the possibility of treating some diagnoses with psychotherapy versus prescribed medications.

The research team only analyzed genetic variation that appeared in at least 1% of the population.

“These really rare things could really matter. It’s something we’re just now getting to the point where we can start looking at it,” Grotzinger said.