Matching Maternal-Fetal Genes Increase Schizophrenia Risk

Risk nearly doubles in females whose HLA gene matches their mother's

THURSDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Females whose human leukocyte antigen (HLA) gene matches their mother's have a nearly twofold higher risk of developing schizophrenia, according to a study in the October issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Christina G.S. Palmer, M.D., from the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the HLA genotypes of 274 Finnish mothers who had at least one offspring with schizophrenia or a related spectrum disorder and 484 affected offspring.

The researchers found that females whose HLA-B gene matched their mother's were at 1.7-fold higher risk of developing schizophrenia.

"Because the matching effect could be associated with pregnancy complications rather than with schizophrenia per se, these findings are consistent with the neurodevelopmental hypothesis of schizophrenia and with accumulating evidence that the prenatal period is involved in the origins of this disease," Palmer and colleagues conclude.

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