Understanding risk for psychopathology through imaging gene-environment interactions

Trends Cogn Sci. 2011 Sep;15(9):417-27. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2011.07.001. Epub 2011 Aug 10.


Examining the interplay of genes, experience and the brain is crucial to understanding psychopathology. We review the recent gene-environment interaction (G×E) and imaging genetics literature with the goal of developing models to bridge these approaches within single imaging gene-environment interaction (IG×E) studies. We explore challenges inherent in both G×E and imaging genetics and highlight studies that address these limitations. In specifying IG×E models, we examine statistical methods for combining these approaches, and explore plausible biological mechanisms (e.g. epigenetics) through which these conditional mechanisms can be understood. Finally, we discuss the potential contribution that IG×E studies can make to understanding psychopathology and developing more personalized and effective prevention and treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Epigenomics
  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neuroimaging
  • Psychopathology*