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This article is part of the Research Topic

Genetics and Epigenetics of Psychiatric Diseases

Mini Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Genet. | doi: 10.3389/fgene.2018.00565

Genetic and epigenetic alterations underlie oligodendroglia susceptibility and white matter etiology in psychiatric disorders

  • 1Mental Diseases Prevention and Treatment Institute of PLA, China
  • 2Chongqing Key Laboratory of Neurobiology, Chongqing Medical University, China


Numerous genetic risk loci are found to associate with major neuropsychiatric disorders represented by schizophrenia. The pathogenic roles of genetic risk loci in psychiatric diseases are further complicated by the association with cell lineage- and/or developmental stage-specific epigenetic alterations. Besides aberrant assembly and malfunction of neuronal circuitry, an increasing volume of discoveries clearly demonstrate impairment of oligodendroglia and disruption of white matter integrity in psychiatric diseases. Nonetheless, whether and how genetic risk factors and epigenetic dysregulations for neuronal susceptibility may affect oligodendroglia is largely unknown. In this mini-review, we will discuss emerging evidence regarding the functional interplay between genetic risk loci and epigenetic factors, which may underlie compromised oligodendroglia and myelin development in neuropsychiatric disorders. Transcriptional and epigenetic factors are the major aspects affected in oligodendroglia. Moreover, multiple disease susceptibility genes are connected by epigenetically modulated transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms. Oligodendroglia specific complex molecular orchestra may explain how distinct risk factors lead to the common clinical expression of white matter pathology of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Keywords: psychiatric disorders, Schizophrenia, Oligodendroglia, myelin, white matter, Genetic risk loci, epigenetic dysregulation

Received: 26 Sep 2018; Accepted: 06 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Zhexing Wen, Emory University School of Medicine, United States

Reviewed by:

Tomas J. Ekstrom, Karolinska Institutet (KI), Sweden
Ting Zhao, University of Pennsylvania, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Chen, Duan, Xiao and Gan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Jingli Gan, Mental Diseases Prevention and Treatment Institute of PLA, Jiaozuo, China,