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Reciprocal Duplication of the Williams-Beuren Syndrome Deletion on Chromosome 7q11.23 Is Associated with Schizophrenia

      Background

      Several copy number variants (CNVs) have been implicated as susceptibility factors for schizophrenia (SZ). Some of these same CNVs also increase risk for autism spectrum disorders, suggesting an etiologic overlap between these conditions. Recently, de novo duplications of a region on chromosome 7q11.23 were associated with autism spectrum disorders. The reciprocal deletion of this region causes Williams-Beuren syndrome.

      Methods

      We assayed an Ashkenazi Jewish cohort of 554 SZ cases and 1014 controls for genome-wide CNV. An excess of large rare and de novo CNVs were observed, including a 1.4 Mb duplication on chromosome 7q11.23 identified in two unrelated patients. To test whether this 7q11.23 duplication is also associated with SZ, we obtained data for 14,387 SZ cases and 28,139 controls from seven additional studies with high-resolution genome-wide CNV detection. We performed a meta-analysis, correcting for study population of origin, to assess whether the duplication is associated with SZ.

      Results

      We found duplications at 7q11.23 in 11 of 14,387 SZ cases with only 1 in 28,139 control subjects (unadjusted odds ratio 21.52, 95% confidence interval: 3.13–922.6, p value 5.5 × 10−5; adjusted odds ratio 10.8, 95% confidence interval: 1.46–79.62, p value .007). Of three SZ duplication carriers with detailed retrospective data, all showed social anxiety and language delay premorbid to SZ onset, consistent with both human studies and animal models of the 7q11.23 duplication.

      Conclusions

      We have identified a new CNV associated with SZ. Reciprocal duplication of the Williams-Beuren syndrome deletion at chromosome 7q11.23 confers an approximately tenfold increase in risk for SZ.

      Key Words

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