Researchers from the multinational SGENE consortium identified seven SNPs that appear to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia.
One of the SNPs is sited near the neurogranin (NRGN) gene on chromosome 11. NRGN seems to play a key role in regulating memory and cognition. Another of SNP was found on chromosome 18 at the transcription factor 4 (TCF4) gene, which is involved in brain development. Five of the SNPS were located close together in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region on chromosome 6. The researchers thus suggest a potential environmental link between schizophrenia and the immune system.
The research involved analyzing the genomes of over 50,000 schizophrenia patients and controls from 14 countries. The unprecedented size of the study was part of the reason for its success, according to Kari Steffanson, CEO at deCODE.
The study is published in the online edition of Nature and is titled “Common variants conferring risk of schizophrenia.” The paper is one of three this week investigating the genetics of Schizophrenia and a polygenic component that could be linked with both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.