Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder with an estimate prevalence of 0.3-0.7%. Studies on family aggregation showed a higher incidence of disease among family members of affected people. This observation lead to formulate the hypothesis that schizophrenia could be inheritable, but twin studies have shown a concordance of disease between monozygotic twins only of 50%, indicating the concomitant role of environmental factors in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Researches in molecular biology field have allowed the identification of genes that confer susceptibility to schizophrenia on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 20 and 22. Epigenetic modifications of gene expression, that not involve the primary DNA sequence, may also predispose to schizophrenia, in particular the methylation of genes involved in neurotransmission (RELN, GAD1, MARLIN-1, and NR3B GRIA2, VGLUT1 and 2, 5HT2a, COMT and BDNF), the histone modifications and the action of non-coding RNAs. This review deals with the results of a bibliographic retrieval on PubMed, carried out, using the Keyword: schizophrenia, genetics, epigenetics. From the epitomized results it can be derived that schizophrenia seems to be a multifactorial disease. Environmental factors, that can cause epigenetic modifications, are important in its pathogenesis, acting on a biological inheritable vulnerability.
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