Heritability of age of onset of psychosis in schizophrenia

Elizabeth Hare, David C. Glahn, Albana M Dassori, Henriette Raventos, Humberto Nicolini, Alfonso Ontiveros, Rolando Medina, Rick Mendoza, Alvaro Jerez, Rodrigo Muñoz, Laura A Almasy, Michael A. Escamilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Schizophrenia is a genetically complex illness with heterogeneous clinical presentation, including variable age of onset. Inthis study, the heritability, or proportion of variation in age of onset of psychotic symptoms due to genetic factors, was estimated using a maximumlikelihood method. The subjects were 717 members of families with more than onemember affected with schizophrenia from Mexican and Central American populations. Age of onset of psychosis was determined by best-estimate consensus diagnosis based on the Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies, Family Interviewfor Genetic Studies, and each subject's medical records. Mean age of onset was 21.44 years (SD 8.07); 20.55 years for males (SD 6.90), and 22.67 for females (SD 9.34). Variance components were estimated using a polygenic model in the SOLAR software package. The sex of the participant was a significant covariate (P=0.010) accountingfor 0.02 of the total variance inage ofonset. The heritability of age of onset of psychosis was 0.33 (SE=0.09; P=0.00004). These findings suggest that genetic factors significantly contribute to the age of onset of psychotic symptoms in individuals with schizophrenia and that sex influences this trait as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-302
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Age of onset
  • Heritability
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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