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Transl Psychiatry. 2016 May 31;6(5):e824. doi: 10.1038/tp.2016.96.

A pilot study on commonality and specificity of copy number variants in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Author information

The Mind Research Network, Albuquerque, NM, USA.
Department of Electrical Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA.
Departments of Neurosciences and Psychiatry, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM, USA.
Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, Institute of Living, Hartford, CT, USA.
Departments of Psychiatry and Neurobiology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
Brainnetome Center and National Laboratory of Pattern Recognition, Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


Schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder (BD) are known to share genetic risks. In this work, we conducted whole-genome scanning to identify cross-disorder and disorder-specific copy number variants (CNVs) for these two disorders. The Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP) data were used for discovery, deriving from 2416 SZ patients, 592 BD patients and 2393 controls of European Ancestry, as well as 998 SZ patients, 121 BD patients and 822 controls of African Ancestry. PennCNV and Birdsuite detected high-confidence CNVs that were aggregated into CNV regions (CNVRs) and compared with the database of genomic variants for confirmation. Then, large (size⩾500 kb) and small common CNVRs (size <500 kb, frequency⩾1%) were examined for their associations with SZ and BD. Particularly for the European Ancestry samples, the dbGaP findings were further evaluated in the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) data set for replication. Previously implicated variants (1q21.1, 15q13.3, 16p11.2 and 22q11.21) were replicated. Some cross-disorder variants were noted to differentially affect SZ and BD, including CNVRs in chromosomal regions encoding immunoglobulins and T-cell receptors that were associated more with SZ, and the 10q11.21 small CNVR (GPRIN2) associated more with BD. Disorder-specific CNVRs were also found. The 22q11.21 CNVR (COMT) and small CNVRs in 11p15.4 (TRIM5) and 15q13.2 (ARHGAP11B and FAN1) appeared to be SZ-specific. CNVRs in 17q21.2, 9p21.3 and 9q21.13 might be BD-specific. Overall, our primary findings in individual disorders largely echo previous reports. In addition, the comparison between SZ and BD reveals both specific and common risk CNVs. Particularly for the latter, differential involvement is noted, motivating further comparative studies and quantitative models.

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