Research Topic

Ion Channels and Mental Illness: Exploring etiology and pathophysiology in major psychiatric disorders

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The advent and accessibility of high-throughput technologies has enabled large-scale collection of vital genetic, genomic and proteomic data from clinical and population-based samples. The importance of large-scale data acquisition to psychiatry is underscored by the growing appreciation of the complex ...

The advent and accessibility of high-throughput technologies has enabled large-scale collection of vital genetic, genomic and proteomic data from clinical and population-based samples. The importance of large-scale data acquisition to psychiatry is underscored by the growing appreciation of the complex genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders, characterized by substantial genetic heterogeneity and rare variant contributions. Nonetheless, the prioritization of data collection and pipelining has led to an apparent shift away from the fundamental process of scientific hypothesis development and empirical testing, particularly in the field of genetics. Psychiatric genetics now appears to be especially vulnerable to data- rather than hypothesis-driven analytic approaches due to the inherent complexity of brain disease and the long history of non-replication within psychiatric genetic investigations. Through this Research Topic, we hope to inspire investigators to propose and test substantive hypotheses while making use of modern genomic technologies, data, and analytic methods. A host of recent genetic, molecular, cellular and pharmacologic investigations have implicated ion channels (both genes and protein products) in mediating susceptibility, pathophysiology and/or pharmacologic response in psychiatric disease. In addition to the accumulated evidence, the ‘drugability’ of these targets support the intensification of research efforts to elucidate the nature, extent and dynamics of their involvement in functional brain disorders.
This Research Topic will accommodate contributions from a wide range of perspectives, scientific research domains, methodologies and analytic approaches that examine the potential role of neuronal ion channels, pumps or transporters, in the etiology of, pathophysiology of or pharmacologic response in any psychiatric disorder. We also welcome relevant in vitro studies or animal models, and studies investigating pharmacologic mechanisms (e.g. proof-of-concept) of existing psychiatric treatments. Investigations pertaining to the evolutionary significance, genomic conservation, developmental dynamics, brain system specificity, or epigenetic mechanisms of ion channel genes are encouraged. We welcome studies reporting both positive and negative findings. Reports of hypothesis-free whole-genome or sequencing studies on which geneset- or pathways-based analyses have implicated this class of genes or relevant subsets will also be considered. Reports of primary research, secondary data analyses, hypothesis papers and opinion pieces will be considered.


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