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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Schizophrenia proteomics: biomarkers on the path to laboratory medicine?

Shaheen Emmanuel Lakhan

Author Affiliations

Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Diagnostic Pathology 2006, 1:11  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-1-11

Published: 17 July 2006

Abstract

Over two million Americans are afflicted with schizophrenia, a debilitating mental health disorder with a unique symptomatic and epidemiological profile. Genomics studies have hinted towards candidate schizophrenia susceptibility chromosomal loci and genes. Modern proteomic tools, particularly mass spectrometry and expression scanning, aim to identify both pathogenic-revealing and diagnostically significant biomarkers. Only a few studies on basic proteomics have been conducted for psychiatric disorders relative to the plethora of cancer specific experiments. One such proteomic utility enables the discovery of proteins and biological marker fingerprinting profiling techniques (SELDI-TOF-MS), and then subjects them to tandem mass spectrometric fragmentation and de novo protein sequencing (MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS) for the accurate identification and characterization of the proteins. Such utilities can explain the pathogenesis of neuro-psychiatric disease, provide more objective testing methods, and further demonstrate a biological basis to mental illness. Although clinical proteomics in schizophrenia have yet to reveal a biomarker with diagnostic specificity, methods that better characterize the disorder using endophenotypes can advance findings. Schizophrenia biomarkers could potentially revolutionize its psychopharmacology, changing it into a more hypothesis and genomic/proteomic-driven science.