Several lines of evidence suggest that nicotinic cholinergic dysfunction may contribute to the cognitive impairments in schizophrenia. The majority of high affinity nicotine binding sites in the human brain have been implicated in heteropentameric alpha4 and beta2 subunits of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; therefore, these two neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors genes (CHRNA4 and CHRNB2) are considered to be attractive candidate genes for the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. To represent these two genes in a gene-wide manner, we first evaluated the linkage disequilibrium structure using our own control samples. Thirteen SNPs (7 SNPs for CHRNA4 and 5 SNPs for CHRNB2) were selected as tagging SNPs. Using these tagging SNPs, we then conducted genetic association analysis of case-control samples (738 schizophrenia and 753 controls) in the Japanese population. No significant association was detected in the allele/genotype-wise or haplotype-wise analysis. Our results suggest that CHRNA4 and CHRNB2 do not play a major role in Japanese schizophrenia.
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