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Disease Markers
Volume 35 (2013), Issue 1, Pages 11–21
Review Article

Coding and Noncoding Gene Expression Biomarkers in Mood Disorders and Schizophrenia

1Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Functional Genomics Laboratory, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-4260, USA
2Department of Psychiatry Research, Zucker Hillside Hospital, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, 75-59 263rd Street, Glen Oaks, NY 11004, USA
3The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, 350 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY 11030, USA
4Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Belfer Room 403, Bronx, NY 10461, USA

Received 20 December 2012; Accepted 20 February 2013

Academic Editor: Daniel Martins-de-Souza

Copyright © 2013 Firoza Mamdani et al. 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.


Mood disorders and schizophrenia are common and complex disorders with consistent evidence of genetic and environmental influences on predisposition. It is generally believed that the consequences of disease, gene expression, and allelic heterogeneity may be partly the explanation for the variability observed in treatment response. Correspondingly, while effective treatments are available for some patients, approximately half of the patients fail to respond to current neuropsychiatric treatments. A number of peripheral gene expression studies have been conducted to understand these brain-based disorders and mechanisms of treatment response with the aim of identifying suitable biomarkers and perhaps subgroups of patients based upon molecular fingerprint. In this review, we summarize the results from blood-derived gene expression studies implemented with the aim of discovering biomarkers for treatment response and classification of disorders. We include data from a biomarker study conducted in first-episode subjects with schizophrenia, where the results provide insight into possible individual biological differences that predict antipsychotic response. It is concluded that, while peripheral studies of expression are generating valuable results in pathways involving immune regulation and response, larger studies are required which hopefully will lead to robust biomarkers for treatment response and perhaps underlying variations relevant to these complex disorders.