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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2003 Jan;165(3):270-9. Epub 2002 Nov 9.

Identification of quantitative trait loci for prepulse inhibition in rats.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla 92093, USA.



Schizophrenia is a common and debilitating psychiatric disorder that is partially under genetic control. Because of difficulties in mapping the genes that influence susceptibility to schizophrenia in humans, there has been substantial interest in mapping genes that control endophenotypes for schizophrenia in both human and rodent populations. Deficient prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle response has shown promise as an endophenotype for schizophrenia, as well as several other psychiatric disorders.


Brown Norway (BN/SsNHsd) and Wistar Kyoto (WKY/lj-cr) rats were used because they show a large, unconfounded difference in PPI. We used interval mapping methods to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for PPI in a backcross population.


We identified a QTL on chromosome 2 with a LOD score of 3.63 and a suggestive QTL on chromosome 18 with a LOD score of 2.71.


Both of the identified regions contain several candidate genes. Furthermore, the implicated rat chromosomes are syntenic with human chromosomal regions that have been reported to contain QTL for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and Tourette's syndrome. These results identify the chromosomal location of gene(s) that modulate an endophenotype for schizophrenia, and other psychiatric disorders, and may provide a shortcut to identifying specific genes and/or biochemical pathways involved in human psychiatric diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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