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Nature. 2010 Nov 11;468(7321):194-202. doi: 10.1038/nature09569.

From maps to mechanisms through neuroimaging of schizophrenia.

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  • Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg/Medical Faculty Mannheim, J5, 68159 Mannheim, Germany. a.meyer-lindenberg@zi-mannheim.de


Functional and structural brain imaging has identified neural and neurotransmitter systems involved in schizophrenia and their link to cognitive and behavioural disturbances such as psychosis. Mapping such abnormalities in patients, however, cannot fully capture the strong neurodevelopmental component of schizophrenia that pre-dates manifest illness. A recent strategy to address this issue has been to focus on mechanisms of disease risk. Imaging genetics techniques have made it possible to define neural systems that mediate heritable risk linked to candidate and genome-wide-supported common variants, and mechanisms for environmental risk and gene-environment interactions are emerging. Characterizing the neural risk architecture of schizophrenia provides a translational research strategy for future treatments.

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