Table of Contents
Cardiovascular Psychiatry and Neurology
Volume 2009, Article ID 409562, 4 pages

Chromatin from Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells as Biomarkers for Epigenetic Abnormalities in Schizophrenia

1The Psychiatric Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1601 W. Taylor St., Chicago, IL 60612, USA
2Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, 912 S. Wood St., Chicago, IL 60612, USA

Received 15 April 2009; Accepted 1 June 2009

Academic Editor: Hari Manev

Copyright © 2009 David P. Gavin and Rajiv P. Sharma. 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.


Background. Studies have implicated abnormalities in epigenetic gene regulation in schizophrenia. Presentation. We hypothesize that identifying abnormalities in chromatin structure and the epigenetic machinery in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from schizophrenia patients could (a) help characterize a subset of schizophrenia patients and (b) lead to targeted pharmacological interventions. Testing. Investigate the relationship between clinical symptoms, demographics, hormonal fluctuations, substance abuse, disease characteristics across the major mental illnesses, and epigenetic parameters in PBMC. In addition, examine the effects of individual antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, as well as experimental agents both as clinically prescribed as well as in cultured PBMC to understand the effects of these agents on chromatin. Implications. If PBMC could serve as a reliable model of overall epigenetic mechanisms then this could lead to a “biomarker” approach to revealing pathological chromatin state in schizophrenia. This approach may provide an informed method for selecting chromatin modifying agents for psychiatric disorders.