Neuropsychopharmacology: Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
A number of recent clinical and molecular observations in major psychosis indicate that epigenetic factors may be operational in the origin of major mental illness. This article further develops the idea that epigenetic factors may play an etiopathogenic role in schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder. The putative role of epigenetic factors is shown by the epigenetic interpretation of genetic association studies of the genes for serotonin 2A (HTR2A) and the dopamine D3 (DRD3) receptors in schizophrenia.
Genetic studies implicating the region of human chromosome 18p11.2 in susceptibility to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have observed parent-of-origin effects that may be explained by genomic imprinting. We have identified a transcriptional variant of the GNAL gene in this region, employing an alternative first exon that is 5' to the originally identified start site. This alternative GNAL transcript encodes a longer functional variant of the stimulatory G-protein alpha subunit, Golf.