Molecular network analysis enhances understanding of the biology of mental disorders

Bioessays. 2014 Jun;36(6):606-16. doi: 10.1002/bies.201300147. Epub 2014 Apr 14.


We provide an introduction to network theory, evidence to support a connection between molecular network structure and neuropsychiatric disease, and examples of how network approaches can expand our knowledge of the molecular bases of these diseases. Without systematic methods to derive their biological meanings and inter-relatedness, the many molecular changes associated with neuropsychiatric disease, including genetic variants, gene expression changes, and protein differences, present an impenetrably complex set of findings. Network approaches can potentially help integrate and reconcile these findings, as well as provide new insights into the molecular architecture of neuropsychiatric diseases. Network approaches to neuropsychiatric disease are still in their infancy, and we discuss what might be done to improve their prospects.

Keywords: mental disorders; molecular networks; neuropsychiatric disease; systems biology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / genetics*
  • Phenotype