Systematic association studies of mitochondrial DNA variations in schizophrenia: focus on the ND5 gene

Schizophr Bull. 2008 May;34(3):458-65. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbm100. Epub 2007 Sep 26.


Postmortem studies, as well as genetic association studies, have implicated mitochondrial dysfunction in schizophrenia (SZ). We conducted multistaged analysis to assess the involvement of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variations in SZ. Initially, the entire mtDNA genome was sequenced in pools of DNA from SZ cases and controls (n = 180 in each group, set 1). Two polymorphisms localized to the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 (ND5) gene demonstrated suggestive case control allele frequency differences (mtDNA 13368 G/A, p = .019 and mtDNA 13708G/A, p = .043). Hence, the ND5 gene was sequenced in individual samples from the initial panel of cases and controls. Additional subjects from another independent set of cases and controls (set 2, cases, n = 244, controls n = 508) were also sequenced individually. No significant differences in allele frequencies for mtDNA 13368 G/A, and mtDNA 13708G/A were observed. However, we identified 216 other rare variants, 53 of which were reported earlier in association studies of other mitochondrial disorders. We compared the distribution of polymorphisms in both sets of cases and controls. No significant case-control differences were observed in the smaller, first set. In the second set, cases had more variants overall (p = 0.014), as well as synonymous variants (p = 0.02), but the difference for nonsynonymous variants was not significant (p = 0.19). Screening available first-degree relatives (n = 10) revealed 10 maternally inherited variations, suggesting that not all the variants are somatic mutations. Further investigations are warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Brain / pathology
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Electron Transport Complex I / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics*
  • NADH Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • NADH Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Point Mutation / genetics
  • Schizophrenia / enzymology
  • Schizophrenia / genetics*
  • Schizophrenia / pathology


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • MT-ND5 protein, human
  • NADH Dehydrogenase
  • Electron Transport Complex I