Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Original Article

Early growth response 1 (EGR1) is downregulated in peripheral blood from patients with major psychiatric disorders

Giovana Bristot, Jacson Gabriel Feiten, Bianca Pfaffenseller, Gabriel Henrique Hizo, Gabriela Maria Pereira Possebon, Fernanda Endler Valiati, Jairo Vinícius Pinto, Marco Antonio Caldieraro, Marcelo Pio de Almeida Fleck, Clarissa Severino Gama, Márcia Kauer-Sant’Anna

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To evaluate relative expression of genes with the potential to translate environmental stimuli into long-term alterations in the brain - namely Early Growth Response (EGR)1, EGR3, and Cryptochrome Circadian Regulator 2 (CRY2) - in peripheral blood from patients with Bipolar Disorder (BD), Schizophrenia (SZ), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and healthy controls (HC).

Thirty individuals ranging from 18 to 60 years were recruited for each group (BD, SZ, MDD or HC) from a Brazilian public hospital. Therefore, individuals’ peripheral blood was collected and EGR1, EGR3 and CRY2 gene expression analyzed by PCR Real Time.

EGR1 mRNA levels are significantly lower in psychiatric patients when compared to HC, but there is no difference for EGR3 and CRY2. Exploring the findings for each diagnosis, there is a significant difference between each diagnosis group only for EGR1, which was lower in BD, MDD and SZ as compared to HC. No significant correlations were found between gene expression and clinical features. 

EGR1 is downregulated in psychiatric patients, regardless of the diagnosis and may be a potential common target in major psychiatric disorders. EGR1, as a transcription factor, modulates many other genes and participates in crucial neuronal and synaptic processes, such as plasticity, neurotransmitters metabolism, vesicular transport and signaling pathways. The study of EGR1 and its upstream regulators in psychiatry might lead to potential new therapeutic targets.


Psychiatric disorders; bipolar disorder; schizophrenia; major depressive disorder; early growth response 1.

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