Use of the epigenetic toolbox to contextualize common variants associated with schizophrenia risk

Prashanth Rajarajan, Schahram Akbarian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Schizophrenia is a debilitating psychiatric disorder with a complex genetic architecture and limited understanding of its neuropathology, reflected by the lack of diagnostic measures and effective pharmacological treatments. Geneticists have recently identified more than 145 risk loci comprising hundreds of common variants of small effect sizes, most of which lie in noncoding genomic regions. This review will discuss how the epigenetic toolbox can be applied to contextualize genetic findings in schizophrenia. Progress in next-generation sequencing, along with increasing methodological complexity, has led to the compilation of genome-wide maps of DNA methylation, histone modifications, RNA expression, and more. Integration of chromatin conformation datasets is one of the latest efforts in deciphering schizophrenia risk, allowing the identification of genes in contact with regulatory variants across 100s of kilobases. Large-scale multiomics studies will facilitate the prioritization of putative causal risk variants and gene networks that contribute to schizophrenia etiology, informing clinical diagnostics and treatment downstream.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-416
Number of pages10
JournalDialogues in Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Epigenetics
  • GWAS
  • Higher-order chromatin
  • Histone modification
  • Multiomics
  • Schizophrenia


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