Abstract Neuroendocrine and gene-environment interaction in psychiatric disorders: current concepts" Amresh Shrivastava, MD The psychiatric disorders are etiologically complex involving both heritable and non-heritable factors. Recent research has indicated that environmental factors, including psychosocial factors, play an important role in manifestation of symptoms. The gap between understanding of those who develop psychiatric illness and those who do not amongst the subgroup of genetic as well as clinical high risk candidates in partly explained by role of environmental factors. These, social, psychological, ecological and cultural factors possibly determine the modulation of biological factors at the level of gene-expression and neuroendocrinal systems. Advances in genetics is indicating how non-specific some genes are for psychiatric disorders, e.g. having associations in common for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism. Earlier stages of psychiatric disorders may be multi-valent and that early detection, coupled with a clearer understanding of the environmental factors, may allow prevention. The role of environmental factors also possibly explains ‘social determinants of health and disease’.
Environmental factors can act upon the genome to bring about epigenetic changes in gene expression involved in the etiology of these disorders. E.g. Altered functioning of serotonergic, noradrenergic system and HPA axis systems may stem from both genetic and developmental causes. Adversity in early-life has developmental consequences on these systems that persist into adulthood. Genetic differences may also contribute to alterations in functioning of neurobiological systems. Moreover, the interaction of early-life experiences of adversity and genetic vulnerability is increasingly thought to play a role, including via epigenetic mechanisms. Research advances have shown encouraging results to explain these complex interaction e.g. Psychosis-associated environmental exposures, particularly at key developmental stages, may result in long-lasting epigenetic alterations that impact on the neurobiological processes involved in pathology. We are at the exciting stage where it is feasible to start investigating molecular modifications to explore gene-environment interaction. This symposium we present some the recent data related to these issues
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/amreshsrivastava/134/