Brain Connectivity and Gyrification as Endophenotypes for Schizophrenia: Weight of the Evidence
T. White and I. Gottesman
Affiliation: Afdeling Kinder- en Jeugdpsychiatrie, Erasmus MC-Sophia / Kamer KP-2869, Postbus 2060, 3000 CB Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Keywords: Endophenotype, intermediate phenotype, structural connectivity, functional connectivity, schizophrenia
The tremendous heterogeneity in the clinical symptoms and cognitive/emotional deficits seen in patients with
schizophrenia has made it challenging to determine the underlying pathogenesis of the illness. One leading hypothesis that
has come to the forefront over the past several decades is that schizophrenia is caused by aberrant connectivity between
brain regions. In fact, a new field of connectomics has emerged to study the effects of brain connectivity in health and illness.
It is known that schizophrenia is highly heritable, although in the search for the underlying genetic factors we have
only scratched the tips of the omics icebergs. One technique to help identify underlying genetic factors is the use of heritable
intermediate phenotypes, or endophenotypes. Endophenotypes provide mechanisms to study the genetic underpinnings
of the disorder by focusing on measureable traits that are more proximal to gene regulation and expression than are
symptoms. Thus, the goal of this paper is to conduct a critical review of the evidence linking both structural and functional
connectivity as an endophenotype for schizophrenia.
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