Taiwan schizophrenia linkage study: Lessons learned from endophenotype-based genome-wide linkage scans and perspective


  • Wei J. Chen

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
    2. Genetic Epidemiology Core Laboratory, Center of Genomic Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
    3. Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and National Taiwan University Hospital, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
    4. Graduate Institute of Brain and Mind Sciences, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
    • Correspondence to:

      Wei J. Chen, M.D., Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, 17 Xu-Zhou Road, Taipei 100, Taiwan.

      E-mail: wjchen@ntu.edu.tw

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  • Conflict of interest: none.


Taiwan Schizophrenia Linkage Study (TSLS) was initiated with a linkage strategy for locating multiple genes, each of small to moderate effect, and aimed to recruit a large enough sample of pairs of affected siblings and their families ascertained from a multisite study. With a sample of 607 families successfully recruited, a total of 2,242 individuals (1,207 affected and 1,035 unaffected) from 557 families were genotyped using 386 microsatellite markers spaced at an average of 9-cM intervals. Here the author reviews the establishment of TSLS and initial signal derived from linkage scan using the diagnosis of schizophrenia. Based on the limited success of the initial linkage analysis, a sufficient-component causal model is proposed to incorporate endophenotypes and genes for schizophrenia. Four types of candidate endophenotype measured in TSLS, including schizotypal personality, Continuous Performance Test, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, and niacin skin flush test, are briefly described. The author discusses different strategies of linkage analysis incorporating these endophenotypes, including quantitative trait loci (QTL) linkage analysis, clustering-derived subgroups, ordered subset analysis (OSA), and latent classes for linkage scan. Then the author summarizes the linkage signals generated from seven studies of endophenotype-based linkage analysis using TSLS, including QTL scan of neurocognitive performance, QTL scan of niacin skin flush, the family cluster of attention deficit and execution deficit, OSA by schizophrenia–schizotypy factors, nested OSA by age at onset and neurocognitive performance, and the latent class of deficit schizophrenia for linkage analysis. The perspective of combining next-generation sequencing with linkage analysis of families is also discussed. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.