Schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorder characterized by a variety of structural brain abnormalities that appear to progress across the course of illness. Schizophrenia also is highly heritable, and one gene that has emerged as a possible susceptibility factor is G72. G72 influences brain development and activity by an as-yet unclear mechanism, and multiple studies have reported associations between G72 and schizophrenia. We were interested in linking these domains of investigation by determining whether G72 also influences the rate of longitudinal structural brain changes in individuals with schizophrenia. As part of the Iowa Longitudinal Study of Recent Onset Psychoses, we genotyped four G72 polymorphisms previously associated with schizophrenia in 110 subjects with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder from whom we had obtained two brain MRI scans an average of 3 years apart. The four polymorphisms captured three haplotypes, one of which was strongly associated with an increased rate of frontal lobe volume decrement. This same haplotype was also associated with more severe psychotic symptoms at the time of the second scan. These data thus suggest that variation in G72 modulates the progressive brain changes that characterize schizophrenia.
(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.