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The Origins of Schizophrenia$
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Alan Brown and Paul Patterson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231151245

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231151245.001.0001

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The Epigenetics of Schizophrenia

The Epigenetics of Schizophrenia

(p.227) Chapter 9 The Epigenetics of Schizophrenia
The Origins of Schizophrenia

Iris Cheung

Mira Jakovcevski

Schahram Akbarian

Columbia University Press

This chapter presents various epigenetic discoveries on schizophrenia. Epigenetics is the study of external or environmental factors that turn genes on and off, and affect how cells read genes. A significant contribution of epigenetic mechanisms in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia is compatible with the existing major disease models, namely the dopamine model and the diathesis stress model. Postmortem epigenetic studies, mostly focused on the cerebral cortex and other areas of the forebrain, demonstrate alterations in gene expression that may lead to schizophrenia. Recently, scientists conducted screenings of epigenetic process on the frontal cortex of persons with schizophrenia. It was found that approximately 100 loci in their brains displayed significant methylation changes. Latest technologic advances in mapping the epigenome will facilitate research on the potential roles of epigenetic mechanisms in schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.

Keywords:   schizophrenia, epigenetics, pathogenesis, diathesis stress model, dopamine model

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