Neuropsychopharmacology: The Interface Between Genes and Psychiatric Nosology
By Thomas A. Ban
To date there is no alternative methodology to psychiatric nosology for classifying mental pathology in a clinically relevant manner. In the light of the inadequacy of the DSM-IV and the failure to replace traditional psychiatric concepts by empirically derived objective measurements, the identification of suitable forms of illness for genetic research in the different nosologies has become of practical importance for progress in the field.
Neuropsychopharmacology, by its unique capability of linking the effect of a psychotropic drug on mental illness with the effect of the substance on brain structures involved in the action mechanism of the drug, offers an adequate methodology for the identification of suitable forms of illness for genetic research (Ban 1999). Since the primary targets of psychotropic drugs in the brain, e.g., G-protein coupled receptors, nuclear (hormonal) receptors, ion channels, enzymes, etc., are all encoded by genes which have been identified, any nosologic entity which corresponds with the treatment responsive population to a psychotropic drug is suitable for the generation and testing of genetic hypotheses relevant to mental illness.