Shared molecular neuropathology across major psychiatric disorders parallels polygenic overlap

PsychENCODE Consortium, iPSYCH-BROAD Working Group, CommonMind Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

609 Scopus citations


The predisposition to neuropsychiatric disease involves a complex, polygenic, and pleiotropic genetic architecture. However, little is known about how genetic variants impart brain dysfunction or pathology. We used transcriptomic profiling as a quantitative readout of molecular brain-based phenotypes across five major psychiatric disorders—autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and alcoholism—compared with matched controls. We identified patterns of shared and distinct gene-expression perturbations across these conditions. The degree of sharing of transcriptional dysregulation is related to polygenic (single-nucleotide polymorphism–based) overlap across disorders, suggesting a substantial causal genetic component. This comprehensive systems-level view of the neurobiological architecture of major neuropsychiatric illness demonstrates pathways of molecular convergence and specificity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-697
Number of pages5
Issue number6376
StatePublished - 9 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


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