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Vázquez-Bourgon, Javier; Roiz-Santiañez, Roberto; Papiol, Sergi; Ferro, Adele; Varela-Gómez, Noemí; Fañanás, Lourdes and Crespo-Facorro, Benedicto (2016): Variations in Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1 gene modulate long-term longitudinal differences in cortical thickness in patients with a first-episode of psychosis. In: Brain Imaging and Behavior, Vol. 10, No. 3: pp. 629-635

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Schizophrenia patients typically present a widespread bilateral cortical thinning from the early stages of the illness. However, there is controversy whether this reduction in cortical thickness (CT) is static or progressive over the evolution of the disorder. Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) is one of the main candidates genes for schizophrenia, as it has been found associated to the illness, and to several endophenotypes of the disorder including structural brain differences. This gene is known to be involved in neurodevelopment and brain maturation processes. We therefore hypothesized that variations in this gene modulate different progressions of CT in psychosis. Seventy-nine Caucasian drug-naive patients experiencing a first episode of non-affective psychosis were genotyped for rs6675281 (Leu607Phe) and rs821616 (Ser704Cys) SNPs of the DISC1 gene. Brain MRIs were carried out at baseline and 3 years after initiating the treatment. Other clinical and socio-demographic variables were recorded to rule out possible confounding effects. Patients homozygous for the Leu allele of the rs6675281 SNP had a significant (p < 0.05) descend in CT over the 3-years period, while those carrying the Phe allele presented an increase in CT. When combining the two SNPs we found a synergic effect on CT progression, presenting those patients homozygous for Leu607 +Ser704 a more pronounced cortical thinning. In conclusion, DISC1 gene variations may modulate the longitudinal changes in cortical thickness in patients suffering from a first episode of non-affective psychosis.

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