We performed a genome-wide association analysis to identify genetic variants influencing age at onset (AAO) and examine gene × gender interactions for AAO in schizophrenia (SCZ) using a European-American sample (1,162 cases). Linear regression model in PLINK was used to test for associations with AAO while the GxE option was chosen to test for the influence of gene × gender interactions. The most significant association with AAO was observed with SNP rs7819815 (P = 3.10×10(-7)) at 8q24.22. The next best signal was at 4q25 in COL25A1 gene (rs17039583, P = 4.30×10(-6)) and the third region was at 4p16.1 (rs17407555, P = 4.56×10(-6) , near RAF1P1, and rs4697924, P = 1.23×10(-5) within WDR1 gene). Conditional analysis on chromosome 4 indicated that 4p16.1 and 4q25 loci were independent. Furthermore, 2 SNPs (rs16834822 and rs16834824) at 1q43 in RYR2 showed strong associations in the female sample (P = 2.10×10(-6) and 2.33×10(-6) , respectively) and strong gene × gender interactions in influencing AAO (P = 9.23×10(-7) and 1.15×10(-6) , respectively) while the second best region showing gene × gender interaction was at 7q22.3 (rs179863, P = 2.33×10(-6) ). Using an independent sample of 1,068 cases, we could not replicate the associations for above top SNPs; however, we found nominal significance associations for their flanking SNPs (P < 0.05). These findings provide evidence of several genetic variants influencing AAO of SCZ.
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