Neural Mechanisms of a Genome-Wide Supported Psychosis Variant

Science  01 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5927, pp. 605
DOI: 10.1126/science.1167768

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Schizophrenia is a devastating, highly heritable brain disorder of unknown etiology. Recently, the first common genetic variant associated on a genome-wide level with schizophrenia and possibly bipolar disorder was discovered in ZNF804A (rs1344706). We show, by using an imaging genetics approach, that healthy carriers of rs1344706 risk genotypes exhibit no changes in regional activity but pronounced gene dosage–dependent alterations in functional coupling (correlated activity) of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) across hemispheres and with hippocampus, mirroring findings in patients, and abnormal coupling of amygdala. Our findings establish disturbed connectivity as a neurogenetic risk mechanism for psychosis supported by genome-wide association, show that rs1344706 or variation in linkage disequilibrium is functional in human brain, and validate the intermediate phenotype strategy in psychiatry.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

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