Less cognitive and neurological deficits in schizophrenia patients carrying risk variant in ZNF804A
Van Den Bossche, Maarten J.A.
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
Neuropsychobiology. - Basel
, p. 158-166
University of Antwerp
Background: The rs1344706 single nucleotide polymorphism in the ZNF804A gene is a common variant with strong evidence for association with schizophrenia. Recent studies show an association of rs1344706 with cognitive functioning, and there is some evidence suggesting that the risk allele may increase susceptibility for a subtype of schizophrenia with relatively spared cognition. Methods: We tested the effect of rs1344706 genotype in 89 schizophrenia patients on 3 basic cognitive domains (working memory, processing speed and attention) shown to be severely impaired in schizophrenia. Also we investigated the effect of rs1344706 on the severity of neurological soft signs, subtle impairments in motor and sensory functions highly frequent in schizophrenia patients. Neurological soft signs and cognitive deficits are central features of schizophrenia and are tightly linked with clinical, social and functional outcome. Results: Our results show an association of higher rs1344706 risk allele load with improved performance on processing speed and with fewer neurological soft signs. Conclusions: Together with other studies, our findings suggest that ZNF804A is associated with a subtype of schizophrenia with better cognitive and neurological functioning. Discovery of the specific pathways through which ZNF804A is exerting this effect may lead to better prevention, diagnosis and treatment for a specific group of schizophrenia patients. Copyright (C) 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel