Twin studies of brain structure and cognition in schizophrenia

Bianca Besteher, Paolo Brambilla, Igor Nenadić

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Twin studies in schizophrenia have been crucial in establishing estimates for the heritability and thus providing evidence for a genetic component in this disorder. Recent years have seen the application of the twin study paradigm to both putative intermediate phenotypes and biomarkers of disease as well as a diversification of its use in schizophrenia research. This review addressed studies of brain structure (T1 morphometry) and cognition in schizophrenia using twin study designs. We review major findings such as the overlap of genetic variance between schizophrenia and cognition as a model for the emergence of psychopathology. The use of novel hybrid models integrating molecular genetic risk markers, as well as the use of twin studies in epigenetics might prove to significantly enhance schizophrenia research in the post-GWAS era.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Cognition
  • Executive function
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Morphometry
  • Schizophrenia
  • Twin studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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