A genome-wide CNV analysis of schizophrenia reveals a potential role for a multiple-hit model

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2014 Dec;165B(8):619-26. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.b.32266. Epub 2014 Sep 16.


Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe psychiatric disorder that is highly heritable. While both common and rare genetic variants contribute to disease risk, many questions still remain about disease etiology. We performed a genome-wide analysis of copy number variants (CNVs) in 166 schizophrenia subjects and 52 psychiatrically healthy controls. First, overall CNV characteristics were compared between cases and controls. The only statistically significant finding was that deletions comprised a greater proportion of CNVs in cases. High interest CNVs were then identified as conservative using the following filtering criteria: (i) known deleterious CNVs; (ii) CNVs > 1 Mb that were novel (not found in a database of control individuals); and (iii) CNVs < 1 Mb that were novel and that overlapped the coding region of a gene of interest. Cases did not harbor a higher proportion of conservative CNVs in comparison to controls. However, similar to previous reports, cases had a slightly higher proportion of individuals with clinically significant CNVs (known deleterious or conservative CNVs > 1 Mb) or with multiple conservative CNVs. Two case individuals with the highest burden of conservative CNVs also share a recurrent 15q11.2 BP1-2 deletion, indicating a role for a potential multiple-hit CNV model for schizophrenia. In total, we report three 15q11.2 BP1-2 deletion individuals with schizophrenia, adding to a growing body of evidence that this CNV is involved in disease etiology.

Keywords: 15q11.2; pleiotropy; polygenic; recurrent CNV; schizophrenia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • DNA Copy Number Variations / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Genetic
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics*
  • Schizophrenia / genetics*
  • Sequence Deletion / genetics
  • Young Adult