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Neuroimage. 2011 Feb 1;54(3):2132-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.09.089. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

ZNF804A risk allele is associated with relatively intact gray matter volume in patients with schizophrenia.

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Neuropsychiatric Genetics Research Group, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.


ZNF804A rs1344706 is the first genetic risk variant to achieve genome wide significance for psychosis. Following earlier evidence that patients carrying the ZNF804A risk allele had relatively spared memory function compared to patient non-carriers, we investigated whether ZNF804A was also associated with variation in brain volume. In a sample of 70 patients and 38 healthy participants we used voxel based morphometry to compare homozygous (AA) carriers of the ZNF804A risk allele to heterozygous and homozygous (AC/CC) non-carriers for both whole brain volume and specific regions implicated in earlier ZNF804A studies-the dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex, the hippocampus, and the amygdala. For patients, but not for controls, we found that homozygous 'AA' risk carriers had relatively larger gray matter volumes than heterozygous/homozygous non-carriers (AC/CC), particularly for hippocampal volumes. These data are consistent with our earlier behavioral data and suggest that ZNF804A is delineating a schizophrenia subtype characterized by relatively intact brain volume. Establishing if this represents a discrete molecular pathogenesis with consequences for nosology and treatment will be an important next step in understanding ZNF084A's role in illness risk.

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