Send to

Choose Destination
Transl Psychiatry. 2017 Feb 14;7(2):e1032. doi: 10.1038/tp.2016.297.

DNA methylation as a putative mechanism for reduced dendritic spine density in the superior temporal gyrus of subjects with schizophrenia.

McKinney B1,2, Ding Y3, Lewis DA1,2,4, Sweet RA1,2,5,6.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Translational Neuroscience Program, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Department of Biostatistics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Department of Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Department of Neurology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Reduced dendritic spine density (DSD) in cortical layer 3 of the superior temporal gyrus (STG), and multiple other brain regions, is consistently observed in postmortem studies of schizophrenia (SZ). Elucidating the molecular mechanisms of this intermediate phenotype holds promise for understanding SZ pathophysiology, identifying SZ treatment targets and developing animal models. DNA methylation (DNAm), the addition of a methyl group to a cytosine nucleotide, regulates gene transcription and is a strong candidate for such a mechanism. We tested the hypothesis that DNAm correlates with DSD in the human STG and that this relationship is disrupted in SZ. We used the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 Beadchip Array to quantify DNAm on a genome-wide scale in the postmortem STG from 22 SZ subjects and matched non-psychiatric control (NPC) subjects; DSD measures were available for 17 of the 22 subject pairs. We found DNAm to correlate with DSD at more sites than expected by chance in NPC, but not SZ, subjects. In addition, we show that the slopes of the linear DNAm-DSD correlations differed between SZ and NPC subjects at more sites than expected by chance. From these data, we identified 2 candidate genes for mediating DSD abnormalities in SZ: brain-specific angiogenesis inhibitor 1-associated protein 2 (BAIAP2) and discs large, Drosophila, homolog of, 1 (DLG1). Together, these data suggest that altered DNAm in SZ may be a mechanism for SZ-related DSD reductions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center