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Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 2005 Nov;73 Suppl 1:S44-50.

[Genetic risk factors in schizophrenia].

[Article in German]

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Universitätsklinik für Psychiatrie, Medizinische Universität Graz, Osterreich.


The high pathogenetic relevance of genetic factors in schizophrenia is beyond doubt based on the findings of epidemiological studies. By means of a complex mode of transmission, it is likely that several genes with weak to moderate effect jointly constitute a genetic basis for a vulnerability to schizophrenia that may well vary for different individuals. Other organic and psychosocial factors also play an individually different -- in some cases significant -- role in terms of pathogenesis, as a result of which an oligogenic/polygenic multifactor model is assumed from the standpoint of aetiopathogenetics. Molecular genetic methods consist in linkage analyses and association analyses. Positive linkage findings accumulate particularly for the chromosomes 1q, 6p, 8p, 13q and 22q. By themselves, individual mutations contribute little to the range of schizophrenic feature characteristics, it was not possible -- irrespective of some subtypes -- to replicate genes of major effect. From the large number of possible candidate genes, although studies on DRD3, DRD2 and HTR2A produced positive results, the magnitudes of effect were low. The findings for alleles of dysbindin, neuregulin 1, DAO, COMT, PRODH, ZDHHC and DISC are less clear. The search for schizophrenia-relevant mutations is hampered by the possibility of a heterogeneous phenotype of schizophrenia in case of a homogeneous genotype as much as by the possibility of inter-individually homogeneous phenotypical characteristics in case of schizophrenia-relevant heterotype in the genome. With the aid of the concept of endo-phenotypes, based on neurobiological phenomena, it might be possible to take a more direct approach that leads from relevant mutations to the risk of schizophrenias. However, replacing schizophrenic alienation with neurobiological aspects leads to difficulties in explaining these complex disorder profiles. Schizophrenic diseases require an explanatory approach that also incorporates personality and developmental psychological aspects from the outset, if the aim is not to restrict type of schizophrenic disease exclusively to loci of molecular genetic changes.

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