• CPT;
  • genetics;
  • linkage analyses;
  • neurocognitive endophenotypes;
  • WCST

Patients with schizophrenia frequently display neurocognitive dysfunction, and genetic studies suggest it to be an endophenotype for schizophrenia. Genetic studies of such traits may thus help elucidate the biological pathways underlying genetic susceptibility to schizophrenia. This study aimed to identify loci influencing neurocognitive performance in schizophrenia. The sample comprised of 1207 affected individuals and 1035 unaffected individuals of Han Chinese ethnicity from 557 sib-pair families co-affected with DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition) schizophrenia. Subjects completed a face-to-face semi-structured interview, the continuous performance test (CPT) and the Wisconsin card sorting test (WCST), and were genotyped with 386 microsatellite markers across the genome. A series of autosomal genome-wide multipoint nonparametric quantitative trait loci (QTL) linkage analysis were performed in affected individuals only. Determination of genome-wide empirical significance was performed using 1000 simulated genome scans. One linkage peak attaining genome-wide significance was identified: 12q24.32 for undegraded CPT hit rate [nonparametric linkage z (NPL-Z) scores = 3.32, genome-wide empirical P = 0.03]. This result was higher than the peak linkage signal obtained in the previous genome-wide scan using a dichotomous diagnosis of schizophrenia. The identification of 12q24.32 as a QTL has not been consistently implicated in previous linkage studies on schizophrenia, which suggests that the analysis of endophenotypes provides additional information from what is seen in analyses that rely on diagnoses. This region with linkage to a particular neurocognitive feature may inform functional hypotheses for further genetic studies for schizophrenia.