Epigenomic Dysregulation in Schizophrenia: In Search of Disease Etiology and Biomarkers
Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder with a complex array of signs and symptoms that causes very significant disability in young people. While schizophrenia has a strong genetic component, with heritability around 80%, there is also a very significant range of environmental exposures and stressors that have been implicated in disease development and neuropathology, such as maternal immune infection, obstetric complications, childhood trauma and cannabis exposure. It is postulated that
... is postulated that epigenetic factors, as well as regulatory non-coding RNAs, mediate the effects of these environmental stressors. In this review, we explore the most well-known epigenetic marks, including DNA methylation and histone modification, along with emerging RNA mediators of epigenomic state, including miRNAs and lncRNAs, and discuss their collective potential for involvement in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia implicated through the postmortem analysis of brain tissue. Given that peripheral tissues, such as blood, saliva, and olfactory epithelium have the same genetic composition and are exposed to many of the same environmental exposures, we also examine some studies supporting the application of peripheral tissues for epigenomic biomarker discovery in schizophrenia. Finally, we provide some perspective on how these biomarkers may be utilized to capture a signature of past events that informs future treatment.