Thursday, 17 May 2012

EGR3 a leading gene for the cause of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a disorder many people of our world will have for the rest of their life. It isn’t a pleasant disorder, in fact would become quite irritating. It is something that specifically tampers with ones behavior by interfering with the usual functions of the brain.[1]
Have you ever wondered what the real cause of schizophrenia is? For many people they are under the impression it has a direct relationship to the consumption of various drugs including cannabis.
As shown on the graph[4] the more you consume illicit drugs the more likely it is that you will spend the remainder of your life with a brain disorder altering your behavior. However, in reality schizophrenia is a result of genetic makeup. It all comes down to a specific gene called ERG3. This early growth response gene is known to uphold specific functions when it comes to human memory and one’s ability to learn and adapt to stress and novelty.[3] These are indeed many of the symptoms of behavioral changes that are caused by Schizophrenia [hallucinations, thought disorder, social withdraw, impaired thinking and memory][1][2]. This is where Schizophrenia is proposed to originate. The ERG3 gene is present in all human beings but not necessarily activated causing behavioral defects. In fact it only presents a problem when it is influenced by an outside source, including illicit drugs. [2]
A 2011 study, published in 2012, examined the genetic makeup of humans which led to evidence that ERG3 is associated with Schizophrenia. The study was in response to previous investigations that concluded there was a specific schizophrenic inclined gene located on each of our 8p chromosomes. The study investigated a number of Chinese schizophrenic patients and a similar number of control subjects to investigate the activity of this specific gene. Through various types of analyses, the frequency of the allele and genetic variation was measured and compared between the different subjects. In order to make a justified conclusion, gender analysis and age on-set analyses were also conducted to examine the influence of the gene in different people. It was concluded that neither age nor gender made any significant difference to the activity of the gene and its association with schizophrenia.
Through the multiple studies conducted it was concluded that within our genetic makeup consisted of EGR3 that when influenced by outside factors activated Schizophrenia.
[Image of Human DNA Double Helix][5]
EGR3 may not be the only gene within out body that has the potential to activate schizophrenia but this will not be confirmed until later studies are conducted.[3] We do however have a better understanding of how schizophrenia arises within our bodies. Our knowledge of this disease will continue to grow and change as different factors or influences are discovered and tested.  

Reference List:
1.       Better Health Channel. 2012. Schizophrenia. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 15 March 12].
2.       Better Health Channel. 2011. Schizophrenia an Overview. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 14 March 12].
3.       Zhang, R, 2012. Genetic Evidence for the Association between the Early Growth Response 3 (EGR3) Gene and Schizophrenia. Plos One, 7, 1-8. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030237
4.       Schizophrenia. 2010. Marijuana / Cannabis and Schizophrenia. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 March 12].
5.       Pizaazz. 2009. Schizophrenia Genetics: Complex. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 March 12].


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