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MHC Risk Variants in Cortical Thickness

Brain Behav; ePub 2019 Mar 28; Tao, et al

In a cohort of antipsychotic-naïve schizophrenia (AN-SCZ) patients, the potential effects of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) risk variants were demonstrated. The study supported the notion that the immune system plays critical roles in the pathology of schizophrenia, which is mediated via the modulation of the development of cerebral cortical structures. 25 AN-SCZ patients and 51 healthy controls (HCs) were included. General linear models were used to identify associations between the average cortical thicknesses of each brain region (n=68) and each of the 11 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the MHC region in the AN-SCZ patients and HCs. Independent-sample t tests were also performed to investigate whether cortical thickness was significantly lower in the AN-SCZ patients than in HCs in the brain regions that were significantly associated with the SNPs. Among the findings:

  • 7 of the 11 SNPs within the MHC region were significantly associated with cortical thickness only in the AN-SCZ patients; these include rs1635, rs1736913, rs2021722, rs204999, rs2523722, rs3131296, and rs9272105.
  • The AN-SCZ patients had significantly thinner cortical thicknesses in the above brain regions, especially the prefrontal cortex.
  • The left entorhinal region was negatively correlated with Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS) activation scores in the AN-SCZ group.


Tao B, Xiao Y, Hu N, et al. Reduced cortical thickness related to single nucleotide polymorphisms in the major histocompatibility complex region in antipsychotic-naïve schizophrenia. [Published online ahead of print March 28, 2019]. Brain Behav. doi:10.1002/brb3.1253.