BDNF gene methylation as a potential biomarker of cognitive improvement in patients with schizophrenia

A new study conducted by a research team at the Clínic-Idibaps Hospital in Barcelona, ​​the University of Barcelona and the areas of Cybermental Health (Cibersam) and Neurodegenerative Diseases (Ciberned) has identified methylation of the BDNF gene as a possible biomarker of improved cognitive function in patients with schizophrenia.

Methylation, an epigenetic process that alters the activity of genes without changing their DNA sequence, was linked in a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research toCognitive changes observed after treatment with cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT).

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by significant cognitive impairment that negatively affects the social and work functionality of patients. CRT has been shown to be effective in improving cognitive function and daily functioning in these individuals.

In the CRT group, changes in methylation of specific regions of the BDNF gene were observed.

Randomized controlled trial included 60 participants and the results showed that in the CRT-treated group there were changes in the methylation of certain regions of the BDNF gene that correlated with cognitive improvements after intervention.

Rafael Penades, The study’s first author and researcher Cibersam at the Hospital Clínic and the University of Barcelona emphasized that “The study results showed that in the group receiving CRT, there were changes in the methylation of some units of the BDNF gene, and these changes correlated with cognitive improvements after the intervention.”

Thus, this finding suggests that CRT not only has a positive effect on cognitive function in patients with schizophrenia, but also may induce specific epigenetic changes in the BDNF gene. “These results suggest that CRT is associated with changes in BDNF methylation patterns, which may be a potential biomarker of cognitive recovery in schizophrenia. “This discovery opens up new prospects for the development of more personalized treatments,” has concluded Barbara Arias, research coordinator and researcher at Cibersam at the University of Barcelona.

Thus, the study shows potential revolutionized approaches to treating schizophrenia. Identification of epigenetic biomarkers such as BDNF gene methylation may lead to a more personalized approach in cognitive rehabilitation. allowing clinicians to tailor therapy to suit each patient’s specific epigenetic needs. Not only will this increase the effectiveness of treatment, but it may also reduce the time it takes to achieve significant improvements in patients’ cognitive function and functional capabilities.

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