Susceptibility genes for schizophrenia have been hypothesised to mediate liability for the disorder at least partly by influencing cognitive performance. We investigated the association between genotype and cognitive performance for a Dysbindin risk haplotype which is associated with schizophrenia in our sample. Fifty-two patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (24 risk haplotypes carriers versus 28 non-risk haplotype carriers) were assessed in areas of cognition showing evidence of familial deficits in schizophrenia. Verbal and spatial memory, working memory, and attentional control was assessed using selected measures from the Weschler memory scale (WMS), Cambridge automated test battery (CANTAB), continuous performance test (CPT), and a simple go/no-go task. Pre-morbid IQ was also assessed using the Weschler Test of Adult Reading (WTAR). Patients carrying the Dysbindin risk haplotype showed significantly lower spatial working memory performance than patients who were non-risk carriers, with genotype explaining 12% of variance in performance. Our study suggests that the increased risk for schizophrenia associated with dysbindin may be partly mediated by its influence on pre-frontal function.
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