Nature Reviews Neuroscience 8, 355-367 (May 2007) | doi:10.1038/nrn2132

Epigenetic regulation in psychiatric disorders

Nadia Tsankova1, William Renthal1, Arvind Kumar1 & Eric J. Nestler1  About the authors


Many neurological and most psychiatric disorders are not due to mutations in a single gene; rather, they involve molecular disturbances entailing multiple genes and signals that control their expression. Recent research has demonstrated that complex 'epigenetic' mechanisms, which regulate gene activity without altering the DNA code, have long-lasting effects within mature neurons. This review summarizes recent evidence for the existence of sustained epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation in neurons that have been implicated in the regulation of complex behaviour, including abnormalities in several psychiatric disorders such as depression, drug addiction and schizophrenia.

Author affiliations

  1. Department of Psychiatry and Center for Basic Neuroscience, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.

Correspondence to: Eric J. Nestler1 Email: