There are to date no objective clinical laboratory blood tests for psychotic disease states. We provide proof of principle for a convergent functional genomics (CFG) approach to help identify and prioritize blood biomarkers for two key psychotic symptoms, one sensory (hallucinations) and one cognitive (delusions). We used gene expression profiling in whole blood samples from patients with schizophrenia and related disorders, with phenotypic information collected at the time of blood draw, then cross-matched the data with other human and animal model lines of evidence. Topping our list of candidate blood biomarkers for hallucinations, we have four genes decreased in expression in high hallucinations states (Fn1, Rhobtb3, Aldh1l1, Mpp3), and three genes increased in high hallucinations states (Arhgef9, Phlda1, S100a6). All of these genes have prior evidence of differential expression in schizophrenia patients. At the top of our list of candidate blood biomarkers for delusions, we have 15 genes decreased in expression in high delusions states (such as Drd2, Apoe, Scamp1, Fn1, Idh1, Aldh1l1), and 16 genes increased in high delusions states (such as Nrg1, Egr1, Pvalb, Dctn1, Nmt1, Tob2). Twenty-five of these genes have prior evidence of differential expression in schizophrenia patients. Predictive scores, based on panels of top candidate biomarkers, show good sensitivity and negative predictive value for detecting high psychosis states in the original cohort as well as in three additional cohorts. These results have implications for the development of objective laboratory tests to measure illness severity and response to treatment in devastating disorders such as schizophrenia.
- convergent functional genomics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience