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Biol Psychiatry. 2014 Jun 15;75(12):936-44. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.10.025. Epub 2013 Nov 15.

Modeling heterogeneous patients with a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia with induced pluripotent stem cells.

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Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York. Electronic address:
Department of Psychiatry, John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.


Schizophrenia (SZ) is a devastating complex genetic mental condition that is heterogeneous in terms of clinical etiologies, symptoms, and outcomes. Despite decades of postmortem, neuroimaging, pharmacological, and genetic studies of patients, in addition to animal models, much of the biological mechanisms that underlie the pathology of SZ remain unknown. The ability to reprogram adult somatic cells into human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) provides a new tool that supplies live human neurons for modeling complex genetic conditions such as SZ. The purpose of this review is to discuss the technical and clinical constraints currently limiting hiPSC-based studies. We posit that reducing the clinical heterogeneity of hiPSC-based studies, by selecting subjects with common clinical manifestations or rare genetic variants, will help our ability to draw meaningful insights from the necessarily small patient cohorts that can be studied at this time.


Clinical heterogeneity; genetics; human induced pluripotent stem cells; mouse model; neuronal differentiation; schizophrenia

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