Role of epigenetic factors in the development of mental illness throughout life

Jerry Guintivano, Zachary A. Kaminsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Psychiatric disease is believed to result from a combination of genetic vulnerability and environmental influence. At the crux are epigenetic modifications, which mediate the influence of environment on the genome. Twin and genome-wide association studies demonstrate a wide range of heritabilities across psychiatric disorders, while epidemiological and animal models implicate distinct developmental windows where environmental factors may interact with genetic vulnerability to confer risk. Certain developmental periods appear to be more prone to these influences including during gestation, in the early postnatal period, and during periods of major hormonal rearrangement. Here we review the role of environmental factors capable of epigenetic reprogramming during these periods and present evidence for the link between these modifications and disease. The cross tissue relevance of environmentally induced epigenetic change and its utility for identifying peripheral biomarkers is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-66
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroscience Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • DNA methylation
  • Environmental influence
  • Epigenetics
  • Heritability
  • Psychiatric disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of epigenetic factors in the development of mental illness throughout life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this