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Epigenetics in Psychiatry 

Epigenetics in Psychiatry
Chapter:
Epigenetics in Psychiatry
Author(s):

Subha Subramanian

and James B. Potash

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190221973.003.0011
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date: 20 November 2019

Epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation (DNAm), histone acetylation and methylation, and those directed by small RNAs, are widely studied in psychiatry and may play a role in the etiology and pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders. This chapter provides a brief overview of the mechanisms regulating these epigenetic marks and the challenges in obtaining biologically meaningful epigenetic data, given the inaccessibility of the living human brain. Significant results to date from studies on the epigenetics of psychiatric disorders are presented, including the impact of stress on DNAm in psychiatric risk genes such as FKBP5, and the impact of drugs of abuse and of psychiatric medications on histone modifications. Future directions are discussed, including the study of newly discovered aspects of DNAm: 5-hydroxymethylcytosine and non-CpG methylation. Ongoing work aims to uncover neurobiological mechanisms of illness and to find epigenetic biomarkers in peripheral tissues that inform diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic response.

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