Molecular Biology Research in Neuropsychiatry: India's Contribution

Article excerpt

Byline: T. S.. Rao, B. Ramesh, P. Vasudevaraju, K. S. J.. Rao

Neuropsychiatric disorders represent the second largest cause of morbidity worldwide. These disorders have complex etiology and patho-physiology. The major lacunae in the biology of the psychiatric disorders include genomics, biomarkers and drug discovery, for the early detection of the disease, and have great application in the clinical management of disease. Indian psychiatrists and scientists played a significant role in filling the gaps. The present annotation provides in depth information related to research contributions on the molecular biology research in neuropsychiatric disorders in India. There is a great need for further research in this direction as to understand the genetic association of the neuropsychiatric disorders; molecular biology has a tremendous role to play. The alterations in gene expression are implicated in the pathogenesis of several neuropsychiatric disorders, including drug addiction and depression. The development of transgenic neuropsychiatric animal models is of great thrust areas. No studies from India in this direction. Biomarkers in neuropsychiatric disorders are of great help to the clinicians for the early diagnosis of the disorders. The studies related to gene-environment interactions, DNA instability, oxidative stress are less studied in neuropsychiatric disorders and making efforts in this direction will lead to pioneers in these areas of research in India. In conclusion, we provided an insight for future research direction in molecular understanding of neuropsychiatry disorders.


Neuropsychiatric disorders represent the second largest cause of morbidity worldwide. These disorders have complex etiology. The genetic linkage is only 10% while remaining 90% are sporadic in nature. The World Health Organization has estimated that neuropsychiatric disease burden comprises 13% of all reported diseases. The psychiatric disorders include major depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, alcohol and substance abuse, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Approximately one in five Americans experience an episode of a psychiatric illness such as schizophrenia, mood disorder (depression and bipolar disorder) or anxiety and a similar situation is predicted to be prevailing in developing countries too. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) defines the criteria for a wide array of mental illnesses. Most Psychiatrists use it as a basis for diagnosis. But diagnosis is still a challenge as many disorder episodes are overlapping.

The prevalence of disorders, and their economics and societal aspects has to be understood through research programs aimed at elucidating the etiologies and pathophysiological mechanisms of these devastating disorders. The final goal will be clear diagnosis, management and drug discovery.

Major depression

Major depression is an affective disorder and the symptoms include feelings of profound sadness, worthlessness, despair and loss of interest in all pleasures. The individuals having depression also experience mental slowing, a loss of energy and an inability to make decisions or concentrate. The symptoms can range from mild to severe, and are often associated with anxiety and agitation. [sup][1] Worldwide, its prevalence is 21% in women and 13% in men. Its occurrence is two to three times more common in first-degree relatives of depressed persons, suggesting a genetic predisposition.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness, which begins, in adolescence or early adulthood. The typical bipolar disorders initiates between 15 and 25 years. The bipolar disorder onsets with initial episode of depression; these episodes of depression go as undiagnosed and are not treated appropriately. Bipolar Disorder includes Major Depressive Episodes and Hypomanic episodes. …