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Mol Psychiatry. 1996 Jul;1(3):215-22.

Ventricular enlargement associated with linkage marker for schizophrenia-related disorders in one pedigree.

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Department of Psychiatry Service, Bronx VA Medical Center, NY 10468, USA.


We previously obtained evidence indicating a genetic linkage marker for schizophrenia and related disorders (two-point lod score = 3.72, P = 0.01) on the short arm of chromosome 5(5p14.1-13.1) in one large pedigree. Automated computer algorithms were used to edge the brain and measure the volume of the ventricles, regional sulcal atrophy, and skull size and shape in the original nuclear family members. Of the 11 subjects who underwent computed tomography, six (three schizophrenic, two with schizotypal personality disorder, and one unaffected) carried the marker allele that co-segregated with schizophrenia-related disorders, while five (all unaffected) did not. The family members with the marker allele linked to schizophrenia-related disorders (n = 6) had significantly (P < 0.05) larger ventricle-brain ratios (VBRs) and more fronto-parietal atrophy (controlling for age) than the family members lacking the schizophrenia-related marker allele (n = 5). The three individuals with the largest VBRs all carried the marker, although they received diagnoses of no schizophrenia-related disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and schizophrenia. Regional cortical values indicative of cerebrospinal fluid content were higher in the frontal and parietal regions of family members carrying the marker. The hypothesis that genetic linkage is associated with structural brain pathology is difficult to test because of all the potential compounding factors. Our findings suggest the possibility that, in this family, relatively enlarged VBR and fronto-parietal atrophy, as determined by computed tomograph, may be associated with a schizophrenia-related gene and present susceptibility to schizophrenia-related disorders. In addition to a replication of these findings in other similarly linked families yet to be identified, further studies using higher resolution structural and functional neuroimaging techniques will be required.

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