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PSYC 338 article - Epigenetics of Schizophrenia.docx

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PSYC 338
Robert Pihl

Epigenetics of Schizophrenia By P. J. Gebicke-Haerter Schizophrenia  Positive and negative symptoms: apathy, lack of emotion, poor or non- existent social functioning, hallucinations, delusions, and racing thoughts to name a few.  Cognitive symptoms: disorganized thoughts, difficulties concentrating or following instructions, difficulties completing tasks and memory problems The genetic origin of the disorder  Uncertainty as to schizophrenia’s heritability o Very slight identifiable differences in DNA sequencing o Of the 80%-90% heritability that is attributed to major psychiatric illnesses, only 2% of that can be attributed to the differences in sequences of the DNA o Epigenetic differences: altering of gene function without altering the physical DNA  Monozygotic twin studies Whether or not someone will be ill is a result of predisposition to illness, and this can be a result of changes in genetic hardware or software. 1. Differences in DNA sequences  We are talking about changes in genetic hardware o Change occurred in the coding part of the gene, when different amino acids are sequenced together to form a protein with a specific function o Qualitative changes. 2. Epigenetic differences  We are focusing on the genetic software,  Mutations that take place in the non-coding part of a gene  Quantitative Changes in genes can occur later in life as well by substances, or x-rays for example.  A biological mutation can result from an external stimulus.  Models of developmental psychopathology suggest that the impact of an event is dependent on the time, intensity, and context of the event  It is during early life Brain regions involved in schizophrenia  Dopaminergic pathways, serotonin pathways, certain G-proteins among many others  Common gene studies are not enriched enough to examine the differences that are present in the etiology of schizophrenia  Through meta-analysis single-nucleotide polymorphism has been found in close proximity to the major histocompatibility complex on chromosome 6 MHCs are molecules that mediate interactions of genes with the immune system. It is these molecules that control susceptibility to illness o Because of these findings, it was thought that schizophrenia is the response t
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