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Mol Psychiatry. 2009 Dec;14(12):1083-94. doi: 10.1038/mp.2009.18. Epub 2009 Mar 3.

Analysis of gene expression in two large schizophrenia cohorts identifies multiple changes associated with nerve terminal function.

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Psychiatry CEDD, New Frontiers Science Park, GlaxoSmithKline, Harlow, Essex, UK.

Erratum in

  • Mol Psychiatry. 2009 Dec;14(12):1146. Akbar, T [corrected to Akbar, M T].
  • Mol Psychiatry. 2010 Apr;15(4):442-3.


Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder with a world-wide prevalence of 1%. The pathophysiology of the illness is not understood, but is thought to have a strong genetic component with some environmental influences on aetiology. To gain further insight into disease mechanism, we used microarray technology to determine the expression of over 30 000 mRNA transcripts in post-mortem tissue from a brain region associated with the pathophysiology of the disease (Brodmann area 10: anterior prefrontal cortex) in 28 schizophrenic and 23 control patients. We then compared our study (Charing Cross Hospital prospective collection) with that of an independent prefrontal cortex dataset from the Harvard Brain Bank. We report the first direct comparison between two independent studies. A total of 51 gene expression changes have been identified that are common between the schizophrenia cohorts, and 49 show the same direction of disease-associated regulation. In particular, changes were observed in gene sets associated with synaptic vesicle recycling, transmitter release and cytoskeletal dynamics. This strongly suggests multiple, small but synergistic changes in gene expression that affect nerve terminal function.

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