No association between glutathione-synthesis-related genes and Japanese schizophrenia


Tohru Ohnuma, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Juntendo University, School of Medicine, 2-1-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8421, Japan. Email:


Aims:  Schizophrenia is a major psychiatric disorder with complex genetic, environmental, and psychological causes, and oxidative stress may be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease. Glutathione (GSH), one of the main cellular non-protein antioxidants and redox regulators, and altered GSH levels have been reported in various regions in patients with schizophrenia. Three enzymes are responsible for GSH synthesis: glutamate cysteine ligase modifier (GCLM), glutamate cysteine ligase catalytic subunit (GCLC), and glutathione synthetase (GSS). Previously, positive associations between GCLM and schizophrenia were reported in Europeans, but not in the Japanese population. Thus, in this study, we investigated the association between the GSH synthesis genes (GCLM, GCLC, and GSS) and schizophrenia in Japanese individuals.

Methods:  Seventeen single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in GCLM, GCLC, and GSS were genotyped in 358 patients with schizophrenia and in 359 controls.

Results:  No SNP showed a significant association between their allelic or genotypic frequencies and schizophrenia. Case–control haplotype association analysis using windows of two or three SNP showed no significant associations with schizophrenia. The case–control haplotype analyses based on the ascertained linkage disequilibrium blocks also showed no significant associations in any genes with schizophrenia.

Conclusions:  The three primary GSH synthesis genes do not have an apparent degree of association with schizophrenia in the Japanese population.