Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Endophenotype strategies for the study of neuropsychiatric disorders

16.12.2011
The identification of genes that contribute to a susceptibility to complex neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorders has been not very successful using conventional genetic approach.

There are several problems associating with this conventional approach including carriers of genes cannot be identified in the absence of manifest symptoms and the heterogeneity of neuropsychiatric disorders.

A new direction that appears encouraging is the identification of neurobiological or neurobehavioural characteristics associated with these complex neuropsychiatric disorders, or endophenotypes, that may be more closely linked to gene expression. Endophenotype is a biomarker associating with genetic components as well as the clinical symptoms of neuropsychiatric disorders. It plays an important role to bridge the gap between microscopic level and macroscopic level of neuropsychiatric disorders.

The identification of endophenotype, along with the advanced genetic analysis such genomewise association studies, is very crucial to the identification of genes that predispose someone to neuropsychiatric disorders. Therefore, the study of endophenotype is of particular useful for us to understand the underlying mechanism of the illness process of neuropsychiatric disorders, aiding the clinicians to make accurate diagnosis and for early detection purposes.

With the supported from the National Basic Research Programme of China (973 Progamme) (2007CB512302), The Key Laboratory of Mental Health of the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences has organized a strategic symposium for endophenotypes, titled ""Endophenotype strategy for psychotic disorders and summit meeting of Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, CAS". International renowned scholars of this field presented their updated findings on endophenotypes. Professor Irving Gottesman, the founder of the endophenotype for neuropsychiatric disorders, was also giving a video lecture to all the participants. Their work was published in the special issue of Chinese Science Bulletin, 2011, Vol. 56(32).

Cognitive deficits have been widely recognized as core features of schizophrenia, and as major contributors to the clinical outcome of the disorder. They are also studied widely as 'endophenotypes', reflecting a growing consensus that schizophrenia is a broader, more multidimensional illness than the diagnostic criteria required for its formal diagnosis. Stone and Hsi adopted this evolving view of cognition underlying its utilization in recent initiatives for intervention and assessment in schizophrenia, and illustrated it with the use of the MATRICS Cognitive Consensus Battery, a standardized battery of neuropsychological tests developed to assess the effectiveness of cognitive enhancing treatments in schizophrenia. They then further provided evidence to show the utilization of neuropsychological deficits in the identification, validation and remediation of a liability syndrome for schizophrenia ('schizotaxia'). Taken together, the inclusion of cognition in broader consortium and other collaborative efforts to assess interrelationships across multiple dimensions of function will provide important catalysts for progress in each individual dimension. Utilization of cognition underscores its functional importance in the clinical outcome of schizophrenia. Moreover, it helps to illuminate indicators of liability for schizophrenia that might be amenable to remediation.

On the other hand, Prof. Pak Sham and colleagues have addressed the statistical issues and approaches in endophenotype research. In this paper, they argued that in reality, a putative endophenotype is unlikely to be a perfect representation of the genetic component of disease liability. The magnitude of the correlation between a putative endophenotype and the genetic component of disease liability can be estimated by fitting multivariate genetic models to twin data. A number of statistical methods have been developed for incorporating endophenotypes in genetic linkage and association analyses with the aim of improving statistical power. The most recent of such methods can handle multiple endophenotypes simultaneously for the greatest increase in power. In addition to increasing statistical power, endophenotype research plays an important role in helping to understand the mechanisms which connect the associated genetic variants with disease occurrence. The causal pathways are likely to be very complicated and involve endophenotypes at multiple levels: from RNA expression profiles and patterns of protein expression, through neuronal and synaptic properties, to neurophysiological and neurocognitive function. Novel statistical approaches may be required for the analysis of the complex relationships between endophenotypes at different levels and how they converge to cause the occurrence of disease.

In the paper of Consortium for the Human Information and Neurocognitive Endophenotype (CHINE) in mainland China: An example from neurological soft signs for neuropsychiatric disorders, Chan made a strategic paper on endophenotypes and argued the need for establishing a central consortium for neuropsychiatric disorders in mainland China, namely the CHINE. The CHINE is intentionally established to pave the roadmap for neuropsychiatric disorders research. It not only identifies the biosignatures for neuropsychiatric disorders but also serves as the central databank for examining the etiologies of major complex neuropsychiatric disorders as well as serving as the main basis for corresponding treatment development. The CHINE emphasizes on two main features, i.e., the supposedly universal basic cognitive functioning such as attention, and the supposedly culturally specific social cognitive functioning such as emotion perception and expression. In this consortium, data collected highlights the genetic level (susceptibility genes associating with major neuropsychiatric disorders, neuroanatomical level (structural and functional imaging data), and behavioural level (neurocognitive function performances, social cognitive functioning, neurological and clinical manifestations). Target groups include both the clinically diagnosed patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders (mainly schizophrenia and bipolar disorders at the current moment, but will be extended to other clinical groups later), non-psychotic first-degree relatives of the patients, and healthy controls. Chan specifically illustrated an example of a promising endophenotype for schizophrenia, namely neurological soft signs, in detailing the steps for building the consortium. It is also noteworthy that the potential translational usage of neurological soft signs as a quick, quantifiable, sensitive and user-friendly bedside early detection and screening tool for clinical practice.

See the articles:

STONE William S & HSI Xiaolu. Recent developments in neuropsychological endophenotypes for schizophrenia: Development of the MATRICS battery, liability syndromes and the near future. Chinese Science Bulletin, 2011, 56(32), 3385-3393.

SHAM Pak Chung, CHERNY Stacey S & HALL Mei-Hua. Statistical issues and approaches in endophenotype research. Chinese Science Bulletin, 2011, 56(32), 34033408.

CHAN Raymond C K. Consortium for the Human Information and Neurocognitive Endophenotype (CHINE) in mainland China: An example from neurological soft signs for neuropsychiatric disorders. Chinese Science Bulletin, 2011, 56(32), 3409-3415.

CHAN chor-kiu Raymond | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psych.ac.cn

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht High speed video recording precisely measures blood cell velocity
15.11.2017 | ITMO University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>