Association of BDNF gene polymorphisms with schizophrenia and clinical symptoms in a Chinese population

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2013 Sep;162B(6):538-45. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.b.32183. Epub 2013 Jul 7.


The neurodevelopmental hypothesis is well established in schizophrenia. Accumulating evidence has shown that BDNF may be involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. This study aimed to investigate the potential association of BDNF gene polymorphisms with susceptibility to schizophrenia and with the psychopathological symptoms in patients with schizophrenia in a Han Chinese population. Three polymorphisms (rs6265, rs12273539, and rs10835210) of the BDNF gene were analyzed in a case-control study of 709 Han Chinese individuals (375 patients and 334 controls). The patients' psychopathology was assessed using the positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS). We found no significant differences in the genotype and allele distributions of all three polymorphisms between the patient and control groups; however, we found a trend toward to significant overall difference in the estimated haplotype frequencies, with more frequent haplotype ATC of rs6265-rs12273539-rs10835210 in the schizophrenic patients than in controls (P = 0.027). The quantitative trait analysis by the UNPHASED program showed significant associations between the rs6265 (A)-rs12273539 (C)-rs10835210 (A) haplotype and negative symptom scores from the PANSS (x(2) = 5.79, P = 0.016). Our findings suggest that the BDNF gene polymorphisms may play a small effect on susceptibility to schizophrenia, but may contribute to the negative symptoms of the disease.

Keywords: association; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; haplotype; negative symptom; polymorphism; schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alleles
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / genetics*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genotype
  • Haplotypes / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Prognosis
  • Schizophrenia / complications
  • Schizophrenia / genetics*


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • BDNF protein, human