Postmortem human brain genomics in neuropsychiatric disorders--how far can we go?

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2016 Feb;36:107-11. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2015.11.002. Epub 2015 Dec 10.


Large-scale collection of postmortem human brain tissue and subsequent genomic data generation has become a useful approach for better identifying etiological factors contributing to neuropsychiatric disorders. In particular, studying genetic risk variants in non-psychiatric controls can identify biological mechanisms of risk free from confounding factors related to epiphenomena of illness. While the field has begun moving towards cell type-specific analyses, homogenate brain tissue with accompanying cellular profiles, can still identify useful hypotheses for more focused experiments, particularly when the dysregulated cell types are unknown. Technological advances, larger sample sizes, and focused research questions can continue to further leverage postmortem human brain research to better identify and understand the molecular etiology of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / genetics
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / metabolism
  • Autopsy
  • Bipolar Disorder / genetics
  • Bipolar Disorder / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / genetics
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / genetics*
  • Mental Disorders / metabolism
  • Schizophrenia / genetics
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism