Schizophrenia: from the brain to peripheral markers. A consensus paper of the WFSBP task force on biological markers

World J Biol Psychiatry. 2009;10(2):127-55. doi: 10.1080/15622970902898980.


Objective. The phenotypic complexity, together with the multifarious nature of the so-called "schizophrenic psychoses", limits our ability to form a simple and logical biologically based hypothesis for the disease group. Biological markers are defined as biochemical, physiological or anatomical traits that are specific to particular conditions. An important aim of biomarker discovery is the detection of disease correlates that can be used as diagnostic tools. Method. A selective review of the WFSBP Task Force on Biological Markers in schizophrenia is provided from the central nervous system to phenotypes, functional brain systems, chromosomal loci with potential genetic markers to the peripheral systems. Results. A number of biological measures have been proposed to be correlated with schizophrenia. At present, not a single biological trait in schizophrenia is available which achieves sufficient specificity, selectivity and is based on causal pathology and predictive validity to be recommended as diagnostic marker. Conclusions. With the emergence of new technologies and rigorous phenotypic subclassification the identification of genetic bases and assessment of dynamic disease related alterations will hopefully come to a new stage in the complex field of psychiatric research.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / genetics
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*


  • Biomarkers
  • Genetic Markers