Fetal growth and gestational factors as predictors of schizophrenia in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome

Genet Med. 2016 Apr;18(4):350-5. doi: 10.1038/gim.2015.84. Epub 2015 Jun 18.


Purpose: Schizophrenia occurs in 20-25% of adults with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS). General population studies of schizophrenia report associations with perinatal complications, although effect sizes are generally low. We aimed to determine whether such factors are associated with expression of schizophrenia in individuals with 22q11.2DS.

Methods: We investigated the relationship of small for gestational age (SGA) birth weight (<3rd percentile for sex and gestational age) and prematurity (<37 weeks gestation) to expression of schizophrenia in a well-characterized cohort of 123 adults with 22q11.2DS. Outcome measures included adjusted odds ratios and positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV) for schizophrenia.

Results: SGA birth weight (OR = 3.52, 95% CI = 1.34-9.22) and prematurity (OR = 5.38, 95% CI = 1.63-17.75), but not maternal factors, were significant risk factors for schizophrenia in 22q11.2DS. Being born SGA or premature resulted in a PPV of 46% for schizophrenia; NPV in the absence of both features was 83%. Post hoc analyses suggested these perinatal complications were also associated with factors indicative of increased severity of schizophrenia.

Conclusion: In 22q11.2DS, fetal growth and gestation may have a clinically significant impact on future risk for schizophrenia. These data advance our understanding of determinants of disease-specific expression in 22q11.2DS, with implications for other genomic disorders.Genet Med 18 4, 350-355.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • DiGeorge Syndrome / complications*
  • DiGeorge Syndrome / diagnosis
  • DiGeorge Syndrome / epidemiology
  • DiGeorge Syndrome / genetics*
  • Female
  • Fetal Development*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation
  • Gestational Age*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phenotype*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology
  • Schizophrenia / etiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Young Adult