Genetic Basis of Positive and Negative Symptom Domains in Schizophrenia


Schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder, the genetic etiology of which has been well established. Yet despite significant advances in genetics research, the pathophysiological mechanisms of this disorder largely remain unknown. This gap has been attributed to the complexity of the polygenic disorder, which has a heterogeneous clinical profile. Examining the genetic basis of schizophrenia subphenotypes, such as those based on particular symptoms, is thus a useful strategy for decoding the underlying mechanisms. This review of literature examines the recent advances (from 2011) in genetic exploration of positive and negative symptoms in schizophrenia. We searched electronic databases PubMed, Web of Science, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature using key words schizophrenia, symptoms, positive symptoms, negative symptoms, cognition, genetics, genes, genetic predisposition, and genotype in various combinations. We identified 115 articles, which are included in the review. Evidence from these studies, most of which are genetic association studies, identifies shared and unique gene associations for the symptom domains. Genes associated with neurotransmitter systems and neuronal development/maintenance primarily constitute the shared associations. Needed are studies that examine the genetic basis of specific symptoms within the broader domains in addition to functional mechanisms. Such investigations are critical to developing precision treatment and care for individuals afflicted with schizophrenia.

Biological Research For Nursing