Schizophrenia patients frequently display reduced niacin flush responses, and similar characteristics are also observed in their nonpsychotic relatives. This study aimed to identify loci influencing flush response to niacin in schizophrenia using genome-wide quantitative linkage scan. In a nationwide sample of families with at least 2 siblings affected with schizophrenia in each family, 115 families that had at least 2 affected siblings with information on the niacin skin test were subjected to quantitative trait loci linkage analysis, either involving affected individuals only or the whole family. Nonparametric linkage z (NPL-Z) scores were calculated for each of 386 microsatellite markers spaced at an average of 9-cM intervals. Niacin patches of 3 concentrations (0.001M, 0.01, and 0.1M) were applied to forearm skin, and the flush response was rated at 5, 10, and 15 minutes, respectively, with a 4-point scale. Determination of genome-wide empirical significance was implemented using 1000 simulated genome scans. One linkage peak attaining genome-wide significance was identified at chromosomal region 14q32.12 for 0.01M concentration at 5 minutes (NPL-Z scores = 3.39, genome-wide empirical P =. 03) in affected individuals, and the corresponding linkage signal remained strong (NPL-Z scores = 2.87) for the analyses of the whole family. This locus is distinct from the chromosomal region identified in the previous genome-wide scan for the diagnosis of schizophrenia, and the signal was higher than the peak linkage signal in that study. These findings indicate that there might be modifier or susceptibility-modifier genes at 14q32.12 for schizophrenia-related attenuation of flush response to niacin.
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