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The rs1625579 variant near the microRNA-137 (MIR137) gene is one of the best-supported schizophrenia variants in genome-wide association studies (GWAS), and microRNA-137 functionally regulates other GWAS identified schizophrenia risk variants. Schizophrenia patients with the MIR137 rs1625579 risk genotype (homozygous for the schizophrenia risk variant) also have aberrant brain structure. It is unclear if the effect of MIR137 among schizophrenia patients is due to potential epistasis with genetic risk for schizophrenia or other factors of the disorder.
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Although genome wide association studies have highlighted MicroRNA 137 (MIR137) as a novel susceptibility gene for schizophrenia, the mechanisms by which MIR137 risk variants mediate the neurobiology of schizophrenia are not clear. Based on extant data linking MIR 137 gene with structural brain anomalies and functional brain activations in schizophrenia, we hypothesized that MIR137 risk variants rs1625579 and rs1198588 would be associated with reduced fractional anisotropy in frontostriatal brain regions, impaired neurocognitive functioning and worse psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia patients compared with healthy controls. A total of 147 Chinese participants (84 patients with DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia (SCZ) and 63 healthy controls (HC)) were genotyped using blood samples and underwent diffusion tensor imaging.

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A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP rs1625579) within the micro-RNA 137 (MIR137) gene recently achieved strong genome-wide association with schizophrenia (SZ). However, the mechanisms by which SZ risk may be mediated by this variant are unknown. As miRNAs have the potential to influence oligodendrocyte development, we investigated whether this SNP was associated with variability in white matter (WM) microstructure.

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Genome-wide studies have identified allele A (adenine) of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1006737 of the calcium-channel CACNA1C gene as a risk factor for both schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder (BD) as well as allele A for rs1344706 in the ZNF804A gene. These illnesses have also been associated with white matter abnormalities, reflected by reductions in fractional anisotropy (FA), measured using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). We assessed the impact of the CACNA1C psychosis risk variant on FA in SZ, BD and health.

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Background. Schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder (BD) have both been associated with reduced microstructural white matter integrity using, as a proxy, fractional anisotropy (FA) detected using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Genetic susceptibility for both illnesses has also been positively correlated in recent genome-wide association studies with allele A (adenine) of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1344706 of the ZNF804A gene.

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