In terms of impact on and cost to society psychiatric disorders are among the most important health problems of today. Current estimates from the US suggest that the collective cost of psychiatric diseases could amount to one-third of the total health care budget with a cumulative lifetime prevalence of 30%. While undoubtedly improvements have been made in the diagnosis and treatment of at least the symptoms of mental illness, there has been frustratingly little progress in elucidating the molecular mechanisms. However, a fundamentally different approach to study molecular mechanisms of psychiatric diseases is emerging as a result of technological advances in expression profiling methods. This comprises the investigation of the expressed disease ‘phenotypes’, developing from the differential gene and protein expression in the central nervous system as a result of the complex interaction between genetic predisposition and environmental modulation. This paper will focus on proteomics, expression profiling at the protein level, reviewing some of the available tools and their application in the molecular analysis of psychiatric disease.
Keywords: proteomics, schizophrenia, 2d electrophoresis, psychiatry, expression profiling, image analysis
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