Chromosomal fragile site expression in lymphocytes from patients with schizophrenia

Chia Hsiang Chen, Hsuan Hui Shih, Sheng Wang-Wuu, John Jen Tai, Kuang Dong Wuu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

23 Scopus citations


Schizophrenia is a common complex mental disorder. The lifetime prevalence of this disease is about 1% across different populations. The etiology is still unknown despite decades of intensive study. This report is aimed at studying the relationship between chromosomal fragile sites and the etiology of schizophrenia. Lymphocytes of 72 schizophrenic patients and 66 healthy controls were cultured in M medium, which is deficient in folic acid, and in medium RPMI1640 with distamycin A. G-banding was carried out on 100 metaphases of each individual. Fragile sites were characterized as specific chromosomal bands that exhibit nonrandom gaps or breaks. Culture in M medium resulted in significant differences in the total number of chromosomal lesions and the total number of cells with chromosomal lesions between patients and controls (P < 0.001), while no difference was noted after exposure to distamycin A. In the case of M medium, 17 bands in both patients and controls were recognized as expressing fragile sites nonrandomly using a statistical method based on the relationship of the binomial and F distributions. Further analysis using Fisher's exact test revealed a significant excess of expression of a rare fragile site at 2q11.2 among patients compared with controls (P < 0.05). In the case of distamycin A induction, 13 bands were identified as having nonrandom expression of fragile sites using the same statistical method. A significant excess expression of a fragile site at 9q12 was identified among patients compared with controls by applying Fisher's exact test (P < 0.001). Thus, our data suggest that chromosomal bands 2q11.2 and 9q12 are interesting regions that may harbor important genes associated with schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-706
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


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