Epigenetics, stress, and their potential impact on brain network function: A focus on the schizophrenia diatheses

Vaibhav A. Diwadkar, Angela Bustamante, Harinder Rai, Monica Uddin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The recent sociodevelopmental cognitive model of schizophrenia/psychosis is a highly influential and compelling compendium of research findings. Here, we present logical extensions to this model incorporating ideas drawn from epigenetic mediation of psychiatric disease, and the plausible effects of epigenetics on the emergence of brain network function and dysfunction in adolescence. We discuss how gene-environment interactions, effected by epigenetic mechanisms, might in particular mediate the stress response (itself heavily implicated in the emergence of schizophrenia). Next, we discuss the plausible relevance of this framework for adolescent genetic risk populations, a risk group characterized by vexing and difficult-to-explain heterogeneity. We then discuss how exploring relationships between epigenetics and brain network dysfunction (a strongly validated finding in risk populations) can enhance understanding of the relationship between stress, epigenetics, and functional neurobiology, and the relevance of this relationship for the eventual emergence of schizophrenia/psychosis. We suggest that these considerations can expand the impact of models such as the sociodevelopmental cognitive model, increasing their explanatory reach. Ultimately, integration of these lines of research may enhance efforts of early identification, intervention, and treatment in adolescents at-risk for schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number71
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Issue numberJUN
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescence
  • Brain networks
  • Epigenetics
  • Risk
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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