BACKGROUND: We test the hypothesis that the neuregulin 1 (NRG1 ) gene at chromosome 8p22-p12, which has been implicated as a susceptibility gene to schizophrenia, is associated with variations in schizotypal personality in non-clinical populations.
METHOD: A randomly selected sample of 905 adolescents were assessed for their personality features using the Perceptual Aberration Scale (PAS) and the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) and genotyped for three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP8NRG221533, rs3924999, and rs2954041) at the NRG1 gene. Relations between the three genetic variants and continuous schizotypal personality scores were evaluated using ANOVA for single-locus analyses and haplotype trend regression test for multi-locus analyses.
RESULTS: Single locus analysis showed that the A allele of rs3924999, a functional polymorphism in exon 2, had the largest effect size and exhibited a prominent allele-dose trend effect for the PAS score. Haplotype analyses using the haplotype trend regression test indicated that the A allele of rs3924999 was mainly responsible for the association with the PAS but not with the SPQ or its three factors, and the magnitude of significance was not strengthened by the combination of this allele with adjacent locus.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides the first evidence for the association of NRG1 with schizotypal personality and indicates a possible role of NRG1 in the genetic etiology of schizophrenia through perceptual aberrations.
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