Brain-specific epigenetic markers of schizophrenia

Wockner, L F, Morris, C P, Noble, E P, Lawford, B R, Whitehall, V L J, Young, R M, & Voisey, J (2015) Brain-specific epigenetic markers of schizophrenia. Translational Psychiatry, 5(11), e680.

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Epigenetics plays a crucial role in schizophrenia susceptibility. In a previous study, we identified over 4500 differentially methylated sites in prefrontal cortex (PFC) samples from schizophrenia patients. We believe this was the first genome-wide methylation study performed on human brain tissue using the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 Bead Chip. To understand the biological significance of these results, we sought to identify a smaller number of differentially methylated regions (DMRs) of more functional relevance compared with individual differentially methylated sites. Since our schizophrenia whole genome methylation study was performed, another study analysing two separate data sets of post-mortem tissue in the PFC from schizophrenia patients has been published. We analysed all three data sets using the bumphunter function found in the Bioconductor package minfi to identify regions that are consistently differentially methylated across distinct cohorts. We identified seven regions that are consistently differentially methylated in schizophrenia, despite considerable heterogeneity in the methylation profiles of patients with schizophrenia. The regions were near CERS3, DPPA5, PRDM9, DDX43, REC8, LY6G5C and a region on chromosome 10. Of particular interest is PRDM9 which encodes a histone methyltransferase that is essential for meiotic recombination and is known to tag genes for epigenetic transcriptional activation. These seven DMRs are likely to be key epigenetic factors in the aetiology of schizophrenia and normal brain neurodevelopment.

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8 citations in Scopus
5 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 90593
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1038/tp.2015.177
ISSN: 2158-3188
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Biomedical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited
Copyright Statement: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
Deposited On: 23 Nov 2015 22:27
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2015 02:05

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