Printer Friendly

Gene variety and psychiatric drugs.

Individual differences in the structure of genes that create important chemical receptors on brain cells may help explain why a substantial portion of people with schizophrenia and related mental disorders do not benefit from antipsychotic medications, according to a report in the July 9 NATURE.

Further study may show that certain of these genetic variations heighten the susceptibility to psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and manic depression, assert neurobiologist Hubert H.M. Van Tol of the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto and his colleagues.

Van Tol's group screened genetic information previously obtained from several hundred individuals. The researchers isolated examples of a gene governing the production of a protein that forms D4-one of three known brain-cell receptors for the chemical messenger dopamine. Clozapine, an antipsychotic drug touted as an effective treatment for many schizophrenics (SN: 5/23/87, p.324), preferentially binds to D4.

The gene studied by Van Tol's group occurs in at least five forms. A small stretch of DNA on the gene repeats two, three, four, five, or seven times, depending on the individual. Clozapine binds most consistently to the longest version of the gene, the investigators note.

Genes directing the production of the other dopamine receptors, which have been linked to the actions of many antipsychotic drugs, may also vary structurally from one person to another, the researchers suggest.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jul 18, 1992
Previous Article:I'll have my antibodies over easy.
Next Article:Depression after divorce: male call.

Related Articles
Gene for manic depression?
Schizophrenia: genetic clues and caveats.
Psychiatric smoke signals.
Gene linked to mental illness, suicide.
Antipsychotics evoke youthful concerns.
Psychiatric manifestations of medications commonly prescribed in otolaryngology.
Psychiatric Rehabilitation Idealized: Multi-Setting Uses and Strategies over the Course of Severe Mental Illness.
Psychiatric drugs surge among kids. (Behavior).
Totalitarian medicine.
Advocates seek access to drug company documents.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters