Are exposure to cytomegalovirus and genetic variation on chromosome 6p joint risk factors for schizophrenia?

Jung Jin Kim, Brian H. Shirts, Madhulika Dayal, Silviu Alin Bacanu, Joel Wood, Weiting Xie, Xiaohua Zhang, Kodavali V. Chowdari, Robert Yolken, Bernie Devlin, Vishwajit L. Nimgaonkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background. Published data support genetic variants, as well as certain infectious agents, as potential risk factors for schizophrenia. Less is known about interactions between the risk factors. Aim. To evaluate exposure to infectious agents and host genetic variation as joint risk factors. Methods. We investigated four infectious agents: cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2 (HSV1, HSV2), and Toxoplasma gondii (TOX). We initially compared exposure using specific serum antibodies, among simplex and multiplex nuclear families (one or more than one affected offspring, respectively). If interactions between infectious agents and host genetic variation are important risk factors for schizophrenia, we reasoned that they would be more prominent among multiplex versus simplex families. We also evaluated the role of variation at chromosome 6p21-p23 in conjunction with exposure. We used 22 short tandem repeat polymorphisms (STRPs) dispersed across this region. Results. Though exposure to all four agents was increased among multiplex families versus simplex families, the difference was consistently significant only for CMV (odds of exposure to CMV in multiplex families: 2.47, 95% CI: 1.48-5.33). Transmission disequilibrium tests and case-control comparisons using STRPs revealed significant linkage/association with D6S2672 among CMV+ schizophrenia patients. Conclusions. Polymorphisms near D6S2672 could confer risk for schizophrenia in conjunction with CMV exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007


  • Family study
  • Gene-environment interaction
  • Genetic association
  • HLA
  • Herpes virus
  • Immunogenetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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