Gene Expression Studies of Postmortem Brain Tissue from Patients with Psychiatric Disorders

H Tomita, SJ Evans; PV Choudary; J Li; MP Vawter; HB Kim; F Meng; TP Speed; J Barchas; RM Myers; EG Jones; SJ Watson; H Akil; WE Bunney
Japanese Soc Biol Psychiatry/Japanese SNP/Japanese Society of Neurochemistry. 2006.


An international effort is in progress to characterize specific gene expression patterns in postmortem brain tissues from patients with psychiatric disorders, and to elucidate the pathophysiology of the illnesses at molecular level, through the use of high-throughput technologies, including microarrays. Furthermore, technologies to analyze epigenetic conditions, one of the key mechanisms regulating gene expression, or protein expression, have also become available to evaluate their involvements in the pathophysiology. On the other hand, there are ethical and technical issues to be carefully concerned in order to conduct the research and discover meaningful findings. It is desirable to establish nation-wide brain bank networking, based on understandings and supports from people, including researchers, the medical professions, patients, and their families and care givers, which may enable new discoveries useful to improve medicine and welfare in the psychiatric field. In this session, the presenter intends to review 1) Why molecular genetic studies utilizing postmortem brain tissue are important for psychiatry, 2) The issues to be concerned in molecular genetic studies utilizing postmortem brain tissue, 3) Updates on gene expression findings relevant to psychiatric disorders in postmortem brain studies, and discuss the future directions in these studies.