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Common variants at VRK2 and TCF4 conferring risk of schizophrenia.Common sequence variants have recently joined rare structural polymorphisms as genetic factors with strong evidence for association with schizophrenia. Here we extend our previous genome-wide association study and meta-analysis (totalling 7 946 cases and 19 036 controls) by examining an expanded set of variants using an enlarged follow-up sample (up to 10 260 cases and 23 500 controls). In addition to previously reported alleles in the major histocompatibility complex region, near neurogranin (NRGN) and in an intron of transcription factor 4 (TCF4), we find two novel variants showing genome-wide significant association: rs2312147[C], upstream of vaccinia-related kinase 2 (VRK2) [odds ratio (OR) = 1.09, P = 1.9 × 10(-9)] and rs4309482[A], between coiled-coiled domain containing 68 (CCDC68) and TCF4, about 400 kb from the previously described risk allele, but not accounted for by its association (OR = 1.09, P = 7.8 × 10(-9)).
Common variants conferring risk of schizophrenia.Schizophrenia is a complex disorder, caused by both genetic and environmental factors and their interactions. Research on pathogenesis has traditionally focused on neurotransmitter systems in the brain, particularly those involving dopamine. Schizophrenia has been considered a separate disease for over a century, but in the absence of clear biological markers, diagnosis has historically been based on signs and symptoms. A fundamental message emerging from genome-wide association studies of copy number variations (CNVs) associated with the disease is that its genetic basis does not necessarily conform to classical nosological disease boundaries. Certain CNVs confer not only high relative risk of schizophrenia but also of other psychiatric disorders. The structural variations associated with schizophrenia can involve several genes and the phenotypic syndromes, or the 'genomic disorders', have not yet been characterized. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based genome-wide association studies with the potential to implicate individual genes in complex diseases may reveal underlying biological pathways. Here we combined SNP data from several large genome-wide scans and followed up the most significant association signals. We found significant association with several markers spanning the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region on chromosome 6p21.3-22.1, a marker located upstream of the neurogranin gene (NRGN) on 11q24.2 and a marker in intron four of transcription factor 4 (TCF4) on 18q21.2. Our findings implicating the MHC region are consistent with an immune component to schizophrenia risk, whereas the association with NRGN and TCF4 points to perturbation of pathways involved in brain development, memory and cognition.