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Br J Psychiatry. 2001 Nov;179:397-402.

Velo-cardio-facial syndrome: a model for understanding the genetics and pathogenesis of schizophrenia.

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  • 1Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK. k.murphy@iop.kcl.ac.uk



Individuals with velocardio-facial syndrome (VCFS), a genetic disorder associated with microdeletions of chromosome 22q11, are reported to have high rates of psychiatric disorder, particularly schizophrenia.


To review the evidence for an association between VCFS and schizophrenia: to outline recent neuropsychological, neuroanatomical and genetic studies of individuals with VCFS; and to make recommendations for future work.


A selective literature review was undertaken.


Individuals with VCFS have high rates of psychotic disorders, particularly schizophrenia. In addition, specific neuropsychological and neuroanatomical abnormalities have been reported although it is unclear whether such abnormalities relate to the presence of psychiatric disorder in affected individuals.


Deletion of chromosome 22q11 represents one of the highest known risk factors for the development of schizophrenia. It is likely that haploinsufficiency (reduced gene dosage) of a neurodevelopmental gene or genes mapping to chromosome 22q11, leading to disturbed neuronal migration, underlies susceptibility to psychosis in VCFS.

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