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Journal Article


Takata A. Jpn. J. Gen. Hosp. Psychiatry 2012; 24(1): 18-24.

Vernacular Title



(Copyright © 2012)






In the field of psychiatry and psychology, the term "resilience" refers to an individual's capacity to withstand stressors and not to manifest mental illness. To understand the biological basis of resilience, studies using various approaches have been conducted.1. Gene-environment interactionsRecent large scale genetic analyses such as genome-wide association studies have identified several genetic variations that are robustly associated with psychiatric diseases. However, each variant identified so far only increases the disease risks 1.1-1.5 times. To delineate genetic architecture more precisely, complex analysis of genetic variations and environmental factors, gene-environment interaction analysis, has been conducted. These studies have identified several promising candidate genes, such as SLC6A4 encoding serotonin transporter for major depression and ADCYAP1R1 encoding PAC1 receptor and FKBP5 encoding a protein that plays an important role in stress response for PTSD, have been identified.2. Resilience as a consequence of active processesMost of the genetic variations are binary, only having two types of alleles. Therefore, carriers of one allele must be resilient and carriers of the other allele must be vulnerable at the level of genomic sequences. On the other hand, there are some lines of evidence from molecular, cellar and biological experiments suggesting that there should be active processes leading to the manifestation of psychological resilience. For example, enhancement of adult neurogenesis in hippocampus or reactive up-regulation of ion channels in ventral tegmental area might be involved in resilience against stressful conditions. This issue reviews the current status of research aiming for identification of active biological processes that prevent pathological conditions.


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