Translating advances in the molecular basis of schizophrenia into novel cognitive treatment strategies.

The presence and severity of cognitive symptoms, including working memory, executive dysfunction and attentional impairment, contributes materially to functional impairment in schizophrenia. Cognitive symptoms have proved to be resistant to both first- and second-generation antipsychotic drugs. Efforts to develop a consensus set of cognitive domains that are both disrupted in schizophrenia and are amenable to cross-species validation (e.g. the National Institute of Mental Health Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia and Research Domain Criteria initiatives) are an important step towards standardization of outcome measures that can be used in preclinical testing of new drugs. While causative genetic mutations have not been identified, new technologies have identified novel genes as well as hitherto candidate genes previously implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and/or mechanisms of antipsychotic efficacy. This review comprises a selective summary of these developments, particularly phenotypic data arising from preclinical genetic models for cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia, with the aim of indicating potential new directions for pro-cognitive therapeutics. Linked Articles This article is part of a themed section on Pharmacology of Cognition: a Panacea for Neuropsychiatric Disease? To view the other articles in this section visit