Genetic associations between neuregulin-1 SNPs and neurocognitive function in multigenerational, multiplex schizophrenia families

Jessica L. Yokley, Konasale M. Prasad, Kodavali V. Chowdari, Michael E. Talkowski, Joel Wood, Ruben C. Gur, Raquel E. Gur, Laura Almasy, Vishwajit L. Nimgaonkar, Michael F. Pogue-Geile

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Scopus citations


    OBJECTIVES: Recent work shows promising associations between schizophrenia and polymorphisms in neuregulin-1 (NRG1) and a large literature also finds strong familial relationships between schizophrenia and cognitive deficits. Given the role of NRG1 in glutamate regulation and glutamate's effect on cognition, we hypothesized that cognitive deficits may be related to variation within NRG1, providing a possible mechanism to increase risk for schizophrenia. METHODS: This study examined the associations between NRG1, cognition, and schizophrenia using a multigenerational multiplex family sample (total N=419, 40 families), including 58 affected participants (schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder-depressed type) and their 361 unaffected relatives. Participants were genotyped for 40 NRG1 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), chosen largely based on previous associations with schizophrenia. All participants completed structured diagnostic interviews and a computerized neurocognitive battery assessing eight cognitive domains. Variance component quantitative trait analyses tested for associations between individual NRG1 SNPs and cognitive performance in the total sample, a subsample of healthy participants with no Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders diagnosis, and using general intelligence as a covariate. RESULTS: Effect sizes (within-family β coefficients) ranged from 0.08 to 0.73, and 61 of these associations were nominally significant (P≤0.05), with 12 associations at P≤0.01, although none achieved the modified Bonferroni significance threshold of P<0.0003. Attention was the most frequently nominally associated domain and rs10503929, a nonsynonymous SNP, was the most frequently nominally associated SNP. CONCLUSION: Although not significant experiment-wise, these findings suggest that further study of the associations between variation in NRG1 and cognition may be productive.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)70-81
    Number of pages12
    JournalPsychiatric Genetics
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 2012


    • NRG1
    • attention
    • rs10503929

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Genetics
    • Genetics(clinical)
    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Biological Psychiatry


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