Telomere length, family history, and paternal age in schizophrenia

Authors

  • Dolores Malaspina,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, Institute for Social and Psychiatric Initiatives, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York
    2. Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, NY State Office of Mental Health, New York, New York
    • Correspondence

      Dolores Malaspina, InSPIRES, Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, 462 First Avenue, OBV A-Building, Rm 857, New York, NY 10016. Tel: (212) 263-8107; Fax: (212) 263-7949; E-mail: Dolores.malaspina@nyumc.org

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  • Roberta Dracxler,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Institute for Social and Psychiatric Initiatives, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York
    2. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York
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  • Julie Walsh-Messinger,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Institute for Social and Psychiatric Initiatives, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York
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  • Susan Harlap,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Institute for Social and Psychiatric Initiatives, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York
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  • Raymond R. Goetz,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Institute for Social and Psychiatric Initiatives, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York
    2. Division of Clinical Phenomenology, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York
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  • David Keefe,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York
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  • Mary C. Perrin

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Institute for Social and Psychiatric Initiatives, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York
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Abstract

Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is longer in association with advanced paternal age, but this association has not been examined along with family history (FH) in schizophrenia. LTL was measured by PCR and compared across cases and controls as part of a study to examine the characteristics of paternal age related schizophrenia. The 53 schizophrenia cases had similar mean LTL as 20 controls, although cases were significantly older than controls and overwhelmingly smoked cigarettes. Multivariate analyses showed that a FH of schizophrenia was associated with longer LTL in both male and female cases. Later paternal age was also related to longer LTL in male cases, but with shorter LTL in female cases. Male cases with older fathers and a FH had the longest LTL. The genetic architecture associated with a familial risk for schizophrenia may include pathways that lengthen LTL. Paternal aging conferred an additional increase in LTL lengthening in male cases, but reduced LTL in female cases. The gender difference in LTL for paternal aging is consistent with the severe illness features reported for female cases with older fathers and could implicate epigenetic alterations in the paternal X chromosomal region with advanced paternal age in association with the risk for schizophrenia.

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