Schizophrenia is one of the most severe psychiatric disorders, with a high heritability of up to 80%. Several studies have reported telomere dysfunction in schizophrenia, and common variants in the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene. TERT is a key component of the telomerase complex that maintains telomere length by addition of telomere repeats to telomere ends, and has repeatedly shown association with mean lymphocyte telomere length (LTL). Thus, we hypothesized that TERT may be a novel susceptibility gene for schizophrenia. Using a Taqman protocol, we genotyped eight tag SNPs from the TERT locus in 1,072 patients with paranoid schizophrenia and 1,284 control subjects from a Chinese Han population. We also measured mean LTL in 98 cases and 109 controls using a quantitative PCR-based technique. Chi-square tests showed that two SNPs, rs2075786 (P = 0.0009, OR = 0.76, 95%CI = 0.65-0.90) and rs4975605 (P = 0.0026, OR = 0.73, 95%CI = 0.60-0.90), were associated with a protective effect, while rs10069690 was associated with risk of paranoid schizophrenia (P = 0.0044, OR = 1.23, 95%CI = 1.07-1.42). Additionally, the rs2736118-rs2075786 haplotype showed significant association with paranoid schizophrenia (P = 0.0013). Moreover, mean LTL correlated with rs2075786 genotypes was significantly shorter in the patient group than the control group. The present results suggest that the TERT gene may be a novel candidate involved in the development of paranoid schizophrenia.
Keywords: TERT; association study; lymphocyte telomere length; paranoid schizophrenia.
© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.