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DNA Cell Biol. 2012 Jun;31(6):988-92. doi: 10.1089/dna.2011.1471. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

IL-28B genetic variant is associated with the risk of schizophrenia in the Chinese Han population.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, People's Republic of China.


Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder. Although its exact cause is unknown, it is widely accepted that environmental factors and genes integrate in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. 19q13, which contains IL-28B, is a newly identified potential susceptibility locus. IL-28B is a cytokine that functionally has anti-viral activity, but, structurally, is related to the interleukin-10 family. Both virus infection and cytokine changes have been documented in schizophrenia. We selected the single-nucleotide polymorphism rs8099917, which is associated with IL-28B gene expression, to study its relationship to the susceptibility to schizophrenia. A total of 256 Chinese patients with schizophrenia and 329 healthy controls were studied. Both genotype and allele frequencies showed significant differences between patients and normal subjects (p=0.03 and p=0.04, respectively). Our study suggested that the frequency of allele T was a risk factor for the susceptibility of schizophrenia (odds ratio [OR]=1.76, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.03-3.03). When all subjects were grouped by symptoms, both the genotype and the allele frequency were associated with patients having disorganized speech (genotype: χ(2)=5.75, p=0.02; allele: χ(2)=5.41, p=0.02, OR=3.67, 95% CI=1.14-11.82) and negative symptoms (genotype: χ(2)=5.09, p=0.02; allele: χ(2)=4.80, p=0.03, OR=1.95, 95% CI=1.06-3.56) as well as cognitive symptoms (genotype: χ(2)=5.97, p=0.02; allele: χ(2)=5.53, p=0.02, OR=2.04, 95% CI=1.11-3.74). The results in this study may lead to a better understanding of the etiology of schizophrenia.

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