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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2002 Nov 15;107(2):183-9.

Schizophrenia and Nogo: elevated mRNA in cortex, and high prevalence of a homozygous CAA insert.

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Department of Pharmacology, Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto, Room 4344, Medical Science Building, 8 Taddle Creek Road, Ontario, M5S 1A8, Toronto, Canada.


Schizophrenia is a major psychiatric disorder which is hypothesized to result from abnormal neurodevelopment or neural changes in adulthood and possibly associated with altered gene expression. To search for genes overexpressed in schizophrenia, cDNA library subtractive hybridization experiments between post-mortem human frontal cerebral cortices from schizophrenia individuals and neurological controls were carried out. One of the genes over-expressed in schizophrenia was identified as Nogo (also known as reticulon 4, RTN4, NI 250, or RTN-X), a myelin-associated protein which inhibits the outgrowth of neurites and nerve terminals. The elevated expression of Nogo mRNA in schizophrenia was confirmed by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction studies: 16.5 pg Nogo cDNA/microg total RNA in schizophrenia, and 10.2 pg Nogo cDNA/microg total RNA in controls (n=7; P=0.01, t-test for n<30). To identify possible polymorphisms in this gene, the Nogo nucleotide sequence was determined in a series of schizophrenia and control samples. The Nogo mRNA was found to contain a CAA insert polymorphism in the 3'-untranslated region. The prevalence of individuals homozygous for this CAA insert was significantly higher in schizophrenia compared to controls in genomic DNA samples extracted from post-mortem brain and blood samples: 17/81 or 21% in schizophrenia and 2/61 or 3% in controls (P=0.0022, chi(2)- and Fisher's exact-tests). Because the 3'-untranslated regions of eukaryotic genes are known to regulate gene expression, the increased frequency of the Nogo CAA insert in schizophrenia may contribute to abnormal regulation of Nogo gene expression, and may indicate a role for Nogo in disturbed neurodevelopment in schizophrenia.

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