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Dimensional thinking in psychiatry in the era of the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC)

  • J. R. Kelly (a1) (a2), G. Clarke (a1) (a2), J. F. Cryan (a2) (a3) and T. G. Dinan (a1) (a2)


The biological mechanisms underlying psychiatric diagnoses are not well defined. Clinical diagnosis based on categorical systems exhibit high levels of heterogeneity and co-morbidity. The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) attempts to reconceptualize psychiatric disorders into transdiagnostic functional dimensional constructs based on neurobiological measures and observable behaviour. By understanding the underlying neurobiology and pathophysiology of the relevant processes, the RDoC aims to advance biomarker development for disease prediction and treatment response. This important evolving dimensional framework must also consider environmental factors. Emerging evidence suggests that gut microbes (microbiome) play a physiological role in brain diseases by modulating neuroimmune, neuroendocrine and neural signalling pathways between the gut and the brain. The integration of the gut microbiome signature as an additional dimensional component of the RDoC may enhance precision psychiatry.

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Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Dr J. R. Kelly, Lecturer in Clinical Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioural Science, Biosciences Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. (Email:


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Dimensional thinking in psychiatry in the era of the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC)

  • J. R. Kelly (a1) (a2), G. Clarke (a1) (a2), J. F. Cryan (a2) (a3) and T. G. Dinan (a1) (a2)


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