Schizophrenia is a polygenic disorder with a complex etiology. While the genetic and molecular underpinnings of the disease are poorly understood, variations in genes encoding synaptic pathways are consistently implicated. Although its impact is still an open question, a deficit in synaptic activity provides an attractive model to explain the cognitive etiology of schizophrenia. Recent advances in high-throughput imaging and functional studies bring new hope for the application of in vitro disease modeling with patient-derived neurons to empirically ascertain the extent to which these synaptic pathways are involved in the disease. In addition, the emergent avenue of research targeted to probe neuronal connections is revealing critical insight into circuitry and may influence how we think about psychiatric disorders in the near future. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: Exploiting human neurons.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.