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Prof. Art Petronis

Art Petronis psiquiatra Controversias Psiquiatría Barcelona
University of Toronto, Canadá
Ponencia Epigenética de los trastornos mentales
Fecha Viernes, 20 de Abril 2018
Hora 11:00 a 11:45
Mesa redonda Complejidades etiológicas


Art Petronis graduated from Kaunas Medical University, Lithuania, and he worked on his PhD at the Brain Research Institute in Moscow. Dr Petronis completed his post-doctoral training at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Toronto, and since 1997 he has been a faculty at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and University of Toronto. Currently Dr. Petronis is Professor and Head of the Krembil Family Epigenetics Laboratory. He is also Tapscott Chair for Schizophrenia Studies at the University of Toronto. His research is dedicated to the elucidation of the role of epigenetic factors in complex non-Mendelian diseases such as schizophrenia, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease. Dr. Petronis published over 100 papers and book chapters.


There is increasing evidence that, in addition to genetics and environment, phenotypes are also shaped by epigenetic modifications. The role of epigenetic factors in human diseases is of particular interest. Progress in uncovering the epigenetic basis of disease, however, depends on how well we understand the fundamental principles of epigenomic regulation and organization. Our group has recently identified a new epigenetic phenomenon: the circadian (or diurnal) oscillation of epigenetically modified cytosines. Circadian epigenomes appear to be highly relevant to psychiatric disease studies because oscillating cytosines (i) are overrepresented in regulatory DNA elements which harbor numerous genetic disease risk variants, (ii) explain part of the “stochastic” epigenetic variation, (iii) predict age- dependent DNA modification changes, and (iv) significantly overlap with disease hits detected in epigenomic association studies, including two independent studies of schizophrenia. We propose a new perspective on the origin of psychiatric disease and hypothesize that malfunction of circadian regulation, one of the oldest and nearly universal adaptive mechanism, plays a key role. The concept of epigenetic “clock” can explain a number of clinical, epidemiological, and molecular findings in psychiatric diseases. The new theoretical framework allows for new experimental designs that have never been used in psychiatric research. Identification of circadian epigenomic signature of mental illness may lead to a new foundation for diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools in precision psychiatry. Since circadian and epigenetic parameters can be modified by diet, lifestyle, and medications, therapeutic interventions rectifying circadian aberrations may be used to reduce disease risk, or at least delay its age of onset.


[web] Labrie V, Pai S, Petronis A. (2012). Epigenetics of major psychosis: progress, problems and perspectives., Trends Genet. 2012 Sep;28(9):427-35. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2012.04.002. Epub 2012 May 21.

[PDF] Petronis A (2010). Epigenetics as a unifying principle in the aetiology of complex traits and diseases., Nature. 2010 Jun 10;465(7299):721-7. doi: 10.1038/nature09230.

[web] Oh G et al (2016). Epigenetic assimilation in the aging human brain., Genome Biol. 2016 Apr 28;17:76. doi: 10.1186/s13059-016-0946-8.