Schizophrenia is a common psychiatric disorder characterized by disturbances of cognition, emotion and social functioning. There are few studies investigating a possible genetic basis for the underlying mechanism of cognitive dysfunctions. A genetic variation in the dysbindin gene (DTNBP1: dystrobrevin binding protein 1), a susceptibility gene for schizophrenia, has been reported to be associated with general cognitive ability and cognitive decline in patients with schizophrenia. Although profound disturbances of memory performance are observed in schizophrenia, only one study has reported a relationship between this gene and spatial working memory in a Caucasian population. We examined a possible association between a protective haplotype of DTNBP1 for developing schizophrenia and memory performance measured by the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised (WMS-R) and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R) in 165 healthy volunteers and 70 patients with schizophrenia in a Japanese population. Healthy controls that carry the protective haplotype showed higher performance in several memory domains measured by the WMS-R than those who did not. Genotype effect on memory performance was not observed in patients with schizophrenia. This haplotype did not affect IQ and its sub-scores as measured by the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised in both groups. These data suggest that DTNBP1 may have impact on parts of memory functions.
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