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Schizophr Res. 2013 Jun;147(1):1-13. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2013.03.015. Epub 2013 Apr 16.

Human brain imaging studies of DISC1 in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression: a systematic review.

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University of Edinburgh, Division of Psychiatry, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Edinburgh EH10 5HF, United Kingdom. Electronic address:
University of Edinburgh, Division of Psychiatry, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Edinburgh EH10 5HF, United Kingdom.


Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) is a well researched candidate gene for schizophrenia and affective disorders with a range of functions relating to neurodevelopment. Several human brain imaging studies investigating correlations between common and rare variants in DISC1 and brain structure and function have shown conflicting results. A meta-analysis of case/control data showed no association between schizophrenia and any common SNP in DISC1. Therefore it is timely to review the literature to plan the direction of future studies. Twenty-two human brain imaging studies have examined the influence of DISC1 variants in health, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression. The most studied common SNPs are Ser704Cys (rs821616) and Leu607Phe (rs6675281). Some imaging-genomic studies report effects on frontal, temporal and hippocampal structural indices in health and illness and a volumetric longitudinal study supports a putative role for these common SNPs in neurodevelopment. Callosal agenesis is described in association with rare deletions at 1q42 which include DISC1 and rare sequence variants at DISC1 itself. DISC1 interactions with translin-associated factor X (TRAX) and neuregulin have been shown to influence several regional volumes. In the first study involving neonates, a role for Ser704Cys (rs821616) has been highlighted in prenatal brain development with large clusters of reduced grey matter reported in the frontal lobes. Functional MRI studies examining associations between Ser704Cys (rs821616) and Leu607Phe (rs6675281) with prefrontal and hippocampal activation have also given inconsistent results. Prefrontal function was reported to be associated with interaction between DISC1 and CITRON (CIT) in health. Preliminary magnetic resonance spectroscopy and diffusion tensor data support the influence of Ser704Cys (rs821616) status on grey and white matter integrity. The glutamate system remains uninvestigated. Associations between rare sequence variants and structural changes in brain regions including the corpus callosum and effects of gene-gene interactions on brain structure and function are promising areas for future study.

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