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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2005;7(1):17-29.

Early biomarkers of psychosis.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry C-268-71, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO 80262, USA.


Biological traits that are predictive of the later development of psychosis have not yet been identified. The complex, multidetermined nature of schizophrenia and other psychoses makes it unlikely that any single biomarker will be both sensitive and specific enough to unambiguously identify individuals who will later become psychotic. However, current genetic research has begun to identify genes associated with schizophrenia, some of which have phenotypes that appear early in life. While these phenotypes have low predictive power for identifying individuals who will become psychotic, they do serve as biomarkers for pathophysiological processes that can become the targets of prevention strategies. Examples are given from work on the role of the alpha(T)nicotinic receptor and its gene CHRNA7 on chromosome 15 in the neurobiology and genetic transmission of schizophrenia.

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