Objective: The Schizophrenia Psychiatric Genome-wide Association (GWAS) Consortium recently reported on five novel schizophrenia susceptibility loci. The most significant finding mapped to a micro-RNA, MIR-137, which may be involved in regulating the function of other schizophrenia and bipolar disorder susceptibility genes.
Method: We genotyped 821 patients with confirmed DSM-IV diagnoses of schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder I and schizoaffective disorder for the risk SNP (rs1625579) and investigated the clinical profiles of risk allele carriers using a within-case design. We also assessed neurocognitive performance in a subset of cases (n=399) and controls (n=171).
Results: Carriers of the risk allele had lower scores for an OPCRIT-derived positive symptom factor (p=0.04) and lower scores on a lifetime measure of psychosis incongruity (p=0.017). Risk allele carriers also had more cognitive deficits involving episodic memory and attentional control.
Conclusion: This is the first evidence that the MIR-137 risk variant may be associated with a specific subgroup of psychosis patients. Although the effect of this single SNP was not clinically relevant, investigation of the impact of carrying multiple risk SNPs in the MIR-137 regulatory network on diagnosis and illness profile may be warranted.
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