A new study published in Science on Thursday (8/2/2018) revealed the similarity of gene expression patterns in autistic individuals with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
The similarity between the three abnormalities is indicated by the activation of astrocytes and the suppression of genes present in the synapse, branching between neurons.
In autism patients, the researchers also identified the emergence of a response specifically shown by genes to immune cells called microglia.
If an individual is found with such conditions, the person is likely to have a language disorder, irritability, and aggressiveness. People with these three disorders also show a certain genetic variation.
“For the first time, it has been shown that gene expression can be used to define aberrant deviation disorder,” lead researcher Daniel Geschwind, a professor of neurology, psychiatry and human genetics at the University of California, Los Angels, said.
“This phenotype is related to molecular and cellular pathways that may no longer work,” he added as quoted by Scientific American on Thursday (8/2/2018).
Research conducted by Geschwind and his group conducted in 2011. They tried to identify gene expression in brain tissue of the dead with 19 samples of people with autism and 17 people without autism.
Then, they also conducted a recent study by increasing the number of samples: 50 people with autism, 159 people with schizophrenia, and 94 people with bipolar disorder, 87 people who are depressed, 17 people alcoholics, and 293 normal people. The cerebral cortex network of the respondents was identified.
As a result, gene expression in the brain as an autistic marker appears to overlap with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is known that of these respondents, 24 of whom are likely to develop autism, 315 people with schizophrenia, and 94 people with bipolar disorder.
In molecular studies, researchers divide genes based on module types and their functions. From here, the similarity of the three abnormalities emerged. The brains of the sufferers both show low levels of gene expression on three neuron modules.
Two of the modules play a role in the communication of neurons, while the other module serves as mitochondria, which is to generate energy for the cell. Both autism, bipolar, or schizophrenia alike reveal an increase in gene expression in the astrocytic module.
Gene variation in three neuron modules is usually experienced by people with autism and schizophrenia. Genes that contain spontaneous mutations, have something to do with one of the synaptic modules. The results of this study prove that the variety of genes affect the expression of genes when sending signals to synapses.