The role of epigenetics in mental disorders

Indian J Med Res. 2007 Aug;126(2):105-11.

Abstract

It is well established that the idiopathic mental disorders have a genetic basis. Yet, genetic mapping has not definitively identified any genetic mutation or polymorphism underlying these disorders. This review discusses the role of epigenetics in the pathogenesis of the idiopathic mental disorders. Epimutations and epigenetic polymorphisms are emphasized as being an interface between the genes underlying the idiopathic mental disorders and the environment. Psychosocial factors are described as important environmental factors involved in the pathogenesis of the idiopathic mental disorders, modifying the underlying genes by epigenetic mechanisms. Epigenetic strategies to identify the genes underlying the idiopathic mental disorders are described and the available molecular evidence supporting an epigenetic pathogenesis for these disorders is discussed. It also discusses the role of epigenetic factors in the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders and the relevance of the new therapeutic option, epigenetic therapy, in treating the idiopathic mental disorders and the neuropsychiatric disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Environment
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / genetics*
  • Stochastic Processes