Published: 11-08-2013 00:00 | Updated: 29-10-2014 10:51

Genetic overlap between schizophrenia and depression

In a new large-scale study, a worldwide research consortium show that people susceptible to psychiatric disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have underlying genetic similarities. Several research groups from Karolinska Institutet took part in the study, which is published in the scientific periodical Nature Genetics.

In all, more than 300 medical researchers in 250 institutions have been involved in this research project, coordinated by the University of Queensland in Australia and Virginia Commonwealth University in the USA. Researchers studied the genetic information of more than 75,000 people, investigating a type of spelling mistakes or variation in the DNA string called single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNP. By analysing about a million SNPs measured on each person, they found evidence of increased genetic similarities between people with the same psychiatric diagnose.

We then found significant similarities between people suffering from depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disease, says study co-author Christina Hultman, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet.

The research was supported with grants from several national and international research funding bodies, Swedish Research Council and Karolinska Institutet among them. The published study was conducted within a subproject of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. Amongst the study co-authors from Karolinska Institutet were also Drs Anna Kähler, PhD, and Mikael Landen, Adjunct Professor.


Genetic relationship between five psychiatric disorders estimated from genome-wide SNPs.
, Lee S, Ripke S, Neale B, Faraone S, Purcell S, et al
Nat. Genet. 2013 Sep;45(9):984-94