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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 49 (2007) 1, 7 - 16

Review article

Gene-expression profiling in schizophrenia: an overview

J. Verveer, K. Huizer, D. Fekkes, N. van Beveren

background In recent molecular-biological research it has become possible to study the activity of genes. Gene expression is characterized, among other things, by its variability and its dependence on the developmental phase of the organism, on the cell- and tissue-type, and on environmental factors. Now we have a technique by which the activity of the 30,000 or more genes that make up the human genome can be measured in one go. This technique is known as 'microarray screening', 'high-throughput-analysis, or gene-expression profiling'.
aim To describe some of the fundamentals of the gene-expression technique and to present an overview of the results of gene-expression studies of brain tissue taken from deceased patients. method We searched PubMed for relevant articles using the search terms 'schizophrenia', 'micro-array' and 'gene expression'. We located 10 articles/studies.
results and conclusion We conclude that gene-expression profiling has produced some evidence that several functional groups of genes are involved in schizophrenia (e.g. gene groups relating to synapses, metabolism, myelination and oligodendrocytes). Several of these genes are located on known chromosomal risk loci for schizophrenia. Together these findings support the theories that postulate that schizophrenia is caused by disturbances in synaptic stability and plasticity. There is some evidence that disturbances in myelination and fatty-acid metabolism may also play a role.

keywords bio-informatics, gene expression, microarray, schizophrenia