Heritability of neurocognitive correlates of schizophrenia

L. Almasy, J. Blangero, R. C. Gur, R. E. Gur

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Scopus citations


    Schizophrenia has been challenging for genetic study despite the high recurrent rate in relatives of affected individuals as compared to the population prevalence. Families with multiple affected individuals are limited in power for linkage studies based on diagnosis. An alternative approach involves the use of endophenotypes or quantitative risk factors associated with diagnosis. These traits index liability to schizophrenia, but can profitably be measured in unaffected family members. People with schizophrenia have a characteristic profile of neurocognitive deficits, differentially affecting memory and executive functions. Their unaffected first degree relatives show similar, although milder deficits , suggesting that these neurocognitive scores index disease liability, rather than consequences of disease progression. We examined 47 probands with schizophrenia and 73 unaffected first degree relatives. Statistically significant heritabilities were observed for attention (0.53, P<0.01), spatial memory (0.35, P<0.05), verbal reasoning (0.88, P<0.0001) and spatial processing (0.63, P<0.005), but not for abstraction, verbal memory, sensory or motor functions. These results suggest that some neurocognitive endophenotypes show strong genetic signals, making them promising targets for genomic screening to identify loci involved in susceptibility to schizophrenia.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Number of pages1
    JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics - Neuropsychiatric Genetics
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Aug 7 2000

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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