Context: Recent research suggests that variation in the gene encoding dystrobrevin binding protein (DTNBP1) confers susceptibility to schizophrenia. Thus far, no specific risk haplotype has been identified in more than 1 study.
Objectives: To confirm DTNBP1 as a schizophrenia susceptibility gene, to identify and replicate specific risk and protective haplotypes, and to explore relationships between DTNBP1 and the phenotype.
Design: Genetic association study based on mutation detection and case-control analysis.
Setting: All subjects were unrelated and ascertained from general (secondary care) psychiatric inpatient and outpatient services.
Participants: The Cardiff, Wales, sample included 708 white subjects from the United Kingdom and Ireland (221 females) who met DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia and were individually matched for age, sex, and ethnicity to 711 blood donor controls (233 females). Mean +/- SD age at first psychiatric contact for cases was 23.6 +/- 7.7 years; mean age at ascertainment was 41.8 +/- 13.5 years. The Dublin, Ireland, sample included 219 white subjects from the Republic of Ireland who met DSM-III-R criteria for schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and 231 controls. The mean age of the Irish cases was 46.0 +/- 8.5 years; mean age at first psychiatric contact was 25.2 +/- 12.4 years.
Main outcome measure: Evidence for association between the DTNBP1 locus and schizophrenia.
Results: In the Cardiff sample, there was no evidence for association with previously implicated haplotypes but strong evidence for association with multiple novel haplotypes. Maximum evidence was found for a novel 3-marker haplotype (global P<.001), composed of 1 risk haplotype (P =.01) and 2 protective haplotypes, 1 common (P =.006) and 1 rare (P<.001). Specific risk and protective haplotypes were replicated in the Dublin sample (P =.02,.047, and.006, respectively). The only phenotypic variable associated with any haplotype was between the common protective haplotype and higher educational achievement (P =.02, corrected for multiple tests).
Conclusions: DTNBP1 is a susceptibility gene for schizophrenia. Specific risk and protective haplotypes were identified and replicated. Association with educational achievement may suggest protection mediated by IQ, although this needs to be confirmed in an independent data set.