Deconstructing schizophrenia : advances in preclinical models for biomarker identification

Pratt, Judith A and Morris, Brian and Dawson, Neil; (2018) Deconstructing schizophrenia : advances in preclinical models for biomarker identification. In: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences. Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences . Springer, Berlin. (

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Schizophrenia is considered to develop as a consequence of genetic and environmental factors impacting on brain neural systems and circuits during vulnerable neurodevelopmental periods, thereby resulting in symptoms in early adulthood. Understanding of the impact of schizophrenia risk factors on brain biology and behaviour can help in identifying biologically relevant pathways that are attractive for informing clinical studies and biomarker development. In this chapter, we emphasize the importance of adopting a reciprocal forward and reverse translation approach that is iteratively updated when additional new information is gained, either preclinically or clinically, for offering the greatest opportunity for discovering panels of biomarkers for the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of schizophrenia. Importantly, biomarkers for identifying those at risk may inform early intervention strategies prior to the development of schizophrenia. Given the emerging nature of this approach in the field, this review will highlight recent research of preclinical biomarkers in schizophrenia that show the most promise for informing clinical needs with an emphasis on relevant imaging, electrophysiological, cognitive behavioural and biochemical modalities. The implementation of this reciprocal translational approach is exemplified firstly by the production and characterization of preclinical models based on the glutamate hypofunction hypothesis, genetic and environmental risk factors for schizophrenia (reverse translation), and then the recent clinical recognition of the thalamic reticular thalamus (TRN) as an important locus of brain dysfunction in schizophrenia as informed by preclinical findings (forward translation).