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Genes 2016, 7(12), 104; doi:10.3390/genes7120104

The Future is The Past: Methylation QTLs in Schizophrenia

Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Translational Psychiatry, Munich, 80805, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Xiangning (Sam) Chen
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 13 November 2016 / Accepted: 16 November 2016 / Published: 24 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Mechanism of Psychiatric Disorders)
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Abstract

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have remarkably advanced insight into the genetic basis of schizophrenia (SCZ). Still, most of the functional variance in disease risk remains unexplained. Hence, there is a growing need to map genetic variability-to-genes-to-functions for understanding the pathophysiology of SCZ and the development of better treatments. Genetic variation can regulate various cellular functions including DNA methylation, an epigenetic mark with important roles in transcription and the mediation of environmental influences. Methylation quantitative trait loci (meQTLs) are derived by mapping levels of DNA methylation in genetically different, genotyped individuals and define loci at which DNA methylation is influenced by genetic variation. Recent evidence points to an abundance of meQTLs in brain tissues whose functional contributions to development and mental diseases are still poorly understood. Interestingly, fetal meQTLs reside in regulatory domains affecting methylome reconfiguration during early brain development and are enriched in loci identified by GWAS for SCZ. Moreover, fetal meQTLs are preserved in the adult brain and could trace early epigenomic deregulation during vulnerable periods. Overall, these findings highlight the role of fetal meQTLs in the genetic risk for and in the possible neurodevelopmental origin of SCZ. View Full-Text
Keywords: schizophrenia; methylation quantitative trait loci; fetal brain; genome-wide association studies; non-coding variants; induced pluripotent stem cells; DNA memory schizophrenia; methylation quantitative trait loci; fetal brain; genome-wide association studies; non-coding variants; induced pluripotent stem cells; DNA memory
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Hoffmann, A.; Ziller, M.; Spengler, D. The Future is The Past: Methylation QTLs in Schizophrenia. Genes 2016, 7, 104.

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