DNA Damage and Repair in Schizophrenia and Autism: Implications for Cancer Comorbidity and Beyond.
Markkanen E., Meyer U., Dianov GL.
Schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are multi-factorial and multi-symptomatic psychiatric disorders, each affecting 0.5%-1% of the population worldwide. Both are characterized by impairments in cognitive functions, emotions and behaviour, and they undermine basic human processes of perception and judgment. Despite decades of extensive research, the aetiologies of schizophrenia and ASD are still poorly understood and remain a significant challenge to clinicians and scientists alike. Adding to this unsatisfactory situation, patients with schizophrenia or ASD often develop a variety of peripheral and systemic disturbances, one prominent example of which is cancer, which shows a direct (but sometimes inverse) comorbidity in people affected with schizophrenia and ASD. Cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled proliferation of cells, the molecular origin of which derives from mutations of a cell's DNA sequence. To counteract such mutations and repair damaged DNA, cells are equipped with intricate DNA repair pathways. Oxidative stress, oxidative DNA damage, and deficient repair of oxidative DNA lesions repair have been proposed to contribute to the development of schizophrenia and ASD. In this article, we summarize the current evidence of cancer comorbidity in these brain disorders and discuss the putative roles of oxidative stress, DNA damage and DNA repair in the aetiopathology of schizophrenia and ASD.