Bipolar, schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorders are common, highly heritable psychiatric disorders, for which familial coaggregation, as well as epidemiological and genetic evidence, suggests overlapping etiologies. No definitive susceptibility genes have yet been identified for any of these disorders. Genetic heterogeneity, combined with phenotypic imprecision and poor marker coverage, has contributed to the difficulty in defining risk variants. We focused on families of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, to reduce genetic heterogeneity, and, as a precursor to genomewide association studies, we undertook a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping screen of 64 candidate genes (440 SNPs) chosen on the basis of previous linkage or of association and/or biological relevance. We genotyped an average of 6.9 SNPs per gene, with an average density of 1 SNP per 11.9 kb in 323 bipolar I disorder and 274 schizophrenia or schizoaffective Ashkenazi case-parent trios. Using single-SNP and haplotype-based transmission/disequilibrium tests, we ranked genes on the basis of strength of association (P <.01). Six genes (DAO, GRM3, GRM4, GRIN2B, IL2RB, and TUBA8) met this criterion for bipolar I disorder; only DAO has been previously associated with bipolar disorder. Six genes (RGS4, SCA1, GRM4, DPYSL2, NOS1, and GRID1) met this criterion for schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder; five replicate previous associations, and one, GRID1, shows a novel association with schizophrenia. In addition, six genes (DPYSL2, DTNBP1, G30/G72, GRID1, GRM4, and NOS1) showed overlapping suggestive evidence of association in both disorders. These results may help to prioritize candidate genes for future study from among the many suspected/proposed for schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. They provide further support for shared genetic susceptibility between these two disorders that involve glutamate-signaling pathways.
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