Schizophrenia is a strongly heritable disorder, and identification of potential candidate genes has accelerated in recent years. Genomewide scans have identified multiple large linkage regions across the genome, with fine-mapping studies and other investigations of biologically plausible targets demonstrating several promising candidate genes of modest effect. The recent introduction of technological platforms for whole-genome association (WGA) studies can provide an opportunity to rapidly identify novel targets, although no WGA studies have been reported in the psychiatric literature to date. We report results of a case-control WGA study in schizophrenia, examining approximately 500 000 markers, which revealed a strong effect (P=3.7 x 10(-7)) of a novel locus (rs4129148) near the CSF2RA (colony stimulating factor, receptor 2 alpha) gene in the pseudoautosomal region. Sequencing of CSF2RA and its neighbor, IL3RA (interleukin 3 receptor alpha) in an independent case-control cohort revealed both common intronic haplotypes and several novel, rare missense variants associated with schizophrenia. The presence of cytokine receptor abnormalities in schizophrenia may help explain prior epidemiologic data relating the risk for this illness to altered rates of autoimmune disorders, prenatal infection and familial leukemia.
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