Neuregulin 1 and age of onset in the major psychoses
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- Voineskos, D., De Luca, V., MacGregor, S. et al. J Neural Transm (2009) 116: 479. doi:10.1007/s00702-008-0182-9
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Genetic vulnerability to psychiatric illness extends across major psychiatric illness. Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) is a large gene on chromosome 8p, that has been identified as a susceptibility factor in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In particular, a core at risk haplotype has received considerable attention for a putative role in the pathophysiology of the major psychoses (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). This core haplotype can be represented by three markers 478B14-848, 420M9-1395, and SNP8NRG221533. We genotyped 312 families with bipolar probands, and 120 families with schizophrenia probands. Association of the core haplotype was tested for with age-at-onset and with three phenotypes: major psychosis, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Neither age of onset (P = 0.893) nor the major psychosis phenotype (P = 0.374) was associated with the core haplotype in the overall sample. Ours was the first study to investigate the NRG1 core haplotype with age of onset of major psychoses, and despite our preliminary negative findings, this area deserves further investigation.