Linkage analysis of a completely ascertained sample of familial schizophrenics and bipolars from Palau, Micronesia

Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Human Genetics (Impact Factor: 4.82). 09/2005; 117(4):349-56. DOI: 10.1007/s00439-005-1320-1
Source: PubMed


We report on linkage analysis of a completely ascertained population of familial psychosis derived from the oceanic nation of Palau. Palau, an archipelago of islands in the Southern Pacific, currently has a population of approximately 23,000 individuals. The peoples of Palau populated these islands recently in human history, approximately 2,000 years ago. As both historical and genetic evidence suggest, the population is far more homogeneous than most other populations undergoing genetic studies, and should therefore prove quite useful for mapping genetic variants having a meaningful impact on susceptibility to psychotic disorders. Moreover, for our study, essentially all on-island schizophrenics (150) and individuals with other psychotic disorders (25) participated. By analysis of narrow (only schizophrenia) and broad (all psychosis) diagnostic schemes, two-point linkage analyses suggest that two regions of the genome harbor genetic variants affecting liability in most families, 3q28 (LOD = 3.03) and 17q32.2 (LOD = 2.80). Results from individual pedigrees also support 2q37.2, 2p14, and 17p13 as potentially harboring important genetic variants. Most of these regions have been implicated in other genetic studies of psychosis in populations physically quite distant from this Oceanic population, although some (e.g., 3q28) appear to be novel results for schizophrenia linkage analyses.

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    • "Overall, the number of multiply affected sibships has increased from 28 to 38, additional evidence for more pronounced familial aggregation. The average degree of relationship between affected individuals in the total sample is between the fourth and fifth degree [Klei et al., 2005], whereas in the HD families, coefficient of kinship calculations indicate a closer relationship that is approximately equivalent to first cousins [Camp et al., 2001]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Our genetic epidemiological studies of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders (SCZ) in the isolated population of Palau have been ongoing for 20 years. Results from the first decade showed that Palau has an elevated prevalence of SCZ and that cases cluster in extended multigenerational pedigrees interconnected via complex genetic relationships after centuries of endogamous, but not consanguineous, marriages. The aim of our second decade of research, which extended data collection into a third generation of young, high-risk (HR) Palauans, was to identify significant predictors of intergenerational transmission of illness. Our findings revealed that degree of familial loading and gender effects on reproductive fitness are important modifiers of risk for transmission of SCZ. Among 45 distinct multiplex families, we identified 10 high-density (HD) Palauan families, each with 7-29 SCZ cases, which contain half of Palau's 260 SCZ cases and 80% of the 113 SCZ cases with one or more affected first-degree relatives, indicating that familial loading is a major risk factor for SCZ in Palau. Cases that belong to multiply affected sibships are more common than cases with an affected parent. Furthermore, only 6/38 multiply affected sibships have an affected parent, strong evidence that many unaffected parents are obligate carriers of susceptibility genes. Although reproductive fitness is dramatically reduced in affected males, the 30% minority who do become fathers are twice as likely as affected mothers to transmit SCZ to an offspring. As they evolve, these HD families can help to elucidate the genetic mechanisms that predict intergenerational transmission of SCZ.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2011 · American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B Neuropsychiatric Genetics
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    • "Furthermore, the DLG4 gene that encodes the PSD95 was mapped to chromosome 17p13.1, a region linked to schizophrenia [25]. Thus, the DLG4 gene is a reasonable candidate gene of schizophrenia in view of the high genetic basis of the etiology of schizophrenia. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hypofunction of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-mediated signal transduction has been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Post-synaptic density protein 95 (PSD95) plays a critical role in regulating the trafficking and activity of the NMDA receptor and altered expression of the PSD95 has been detected in the post-mortem brain of patients with schizophrenia. The study aimed to examine whether the DLG4 gene that encodes the PSD95 may confer genetic susceptibility to schizophrenia. We re-sequenced the core promoter, all the exons, and 3' untranslated regions (UTR) of the DLG4 gene in 588 Taiwanese schizophrenic patients and conducted an association study with 539 non-psychotic subjects. We did not detect any rare mutations at the protein-coding sequences of the DLG4 gene associated with schizophrenia. Nevertheless, we identified four polymorphic markers at the core promoter and 5' UTR and one single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) at the 3'UTR of the DLG4 gene in this sample. Genetic analysis showed an association of a haplotype (C-D) derived from 2 polymorphic markers at the core promoter (odds ratio = 1.26, 95% confidence interval = 1.06-1.51, p = 0.01), and a borderline association of the T allele of the rs13331 at 3'UTR with schizophrenia (odds ratio = 1.19, 95% confidence interval = 0.99-1.43, p = 0.06). Further reporter gene assay showed that the C-D-C-C and the T allele of the rs13331 had significant lower activity than their counter parts. Our data indicate that the expression of the DLG4 gene is subject to regulation by the polymorphic markers at the core promoter region, 5' and 3'UTR of the gene, and is associated with the susceptibility of schizophrenia.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2010 · PLoS ONE
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    • "There have been many genome wide linkage studies that have utilized families from racial/ ethnic populations other than those of Caucasian ancestry (e.g., Costa Rican (Cooper-Casey et al 2005; Walss-Bass et al 2006); Palau (Camp et al 2001; Klei et al 2005), Chinese (Faraone et al 2006), Japanese (group 2003) and Arabs (Lerer et al 2003)). None of the linkage signals have been replicated consistently across all populations and few have reached genome-wide significance. "
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    ABSTRACT: While many studies have sought a window into the genetics of schizophrenia, few have focused on African-American families. An exception is the Project among African-Americans to Explore Risks for Schizophrenia (PAARTNERS), which seeks to identify novel and known risk variation for schizophrenia by genetic analyses of African-American families. We report a linkage study of diagnostic status in 217 African-American families using the Illumina Linkage Panel. Due to assumed incomplete and time-dependent penetrance, we performed linkage analysis using two different treatments of diagnosis: (1) treating both affected and unaffected individuals as informative for linkage (using the program SIBPAL) and (2) treating only affected individuals as informative (using the program MERLIN). We also explore three definitions of affected status: narrowly defined schizophrenia; one broadened to include schizoaffective disorder; and another including all diagnoses indicating psychosis. Several regions show a decrease in the evidence for linkage as the definition broadens 8q22.1 (rs911, 99.26 cM; SIBPAL p-value [p] goes from 0.006 to 0.02), 16q24.3 (rs1006547, 130.48 cM; p from 0.00095 to 0.0085), and 20q13.2 (rs1022689, 81.73 cM; p from 0.00015 to 0.032). One region shows a substantial increase in evidence for linkage, 11p15.2 (rs722317, 24.27 cM; p from 0.0022 to 0.0000003); MERLIN results support the significance of the SIBPAL results (p=0.00001). Our linkage results overlap two broad, previously-reported linkage regions: 8p23.3-p12 found in studies sampling largely families of European ancestry; and 11p11.2-q22.3 reported by a study of African-American families. These results should prove quite useful for uncovering loci affecting risk for schizophrenia.
    Full-text · Article · May 2009 · Schizophrenia Research
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