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Mol Psychiatry. 2008 Sep;13(9):873-7. doi: 10.1038/ Epub 2008 Jan 15.

Serious obstetric complications interact with hypoxia-regulated/vascular-expression genes to influence schizophrenia risk.

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Genes, Cognition and Psychosis Program, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The etiology of schizophrenia is thought to include both epistasis and gene-environment interactions. We sought to test whether a set of schizophrenia candidate genes regulated by hypoxia or involved in vascular function in the brain (AKT1, BDNF, CAPON, CHRNA7, COMT, DTNBP1, GAD1, GRM3, NOTCH4, NRG1, PRODH, RGS4, TNF-alpha) interacted with serious obstetric complications to influence risk for schizophrenia. A family-based study of transmission disequilibrium was conducted in 116 trios. Twenty-nine probands had at least one serious obstetric complication (OC) using the McNeil-Sjostrom Scale, and many of the OCs reported were associated with the potential for fetal hypoxia. Analyses were conducted using conditional logistic regression and a likelihood ratio test (LRT) between nested models was performed to assess significance. Of the 13 genes examined, four (AKT1 (three SNPs), BDNF (two SNPs), DTNBP1 (one SNP) and GRM3 (one SNP)) showed significant evidence for gene-by-environment interaction (LRT P-values ranged from 0.011 to 0.037). Although our sample size was modest and the power to detect interactions was limited, we report significant evidence for genes involved in neurovascular function or regulated by hypoxia interacting with the presence of serious obstetric complications to increase risk for schizophrenia.

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