Further tests of the association between schizophrenia and single nucleotide polymorphism markers at the catechol-O-methyltransferase locus in an Askenazi Jewish population using microsatellite markers

Date Published:

2005 Sep


Association studies are now primarily being conducted with single nucleotide polymorphisms because they are present everywhere in the genome and can be genotyped in "high throughput" formats. Microsatellite markers have a higher degree of polymorphism than single nucleotide polymorphisms and have been widely used in both linkage and association studies of disease. Polymorphic microsatellite markers with several alleles can readily detect linkage disequilibrium but at any given locus there may be differences between single nucleotide polymorphisms and microsatellites in their power to detect linkage disequilibrium because of the evolutionary history of the locus, especially the rate at which both the single nucleotide polymorphisms and microsatellite polymorphisms have mutated and the number of disease mutations and their history. In the current study, we examined the efficiency of microsatellite markers in association analysis by looking at all existent microsatellite markers in the catechol-O-methyltransferase gene region and by genotyping these microsatellites in a large cohort of schizophrenia patients and healthy controls, a subset of a sample where catechol-O-methyltransferase and schizophrenia were found to be associated. We also estimated the levels of linkage disequilibrium between these microsatellites and the previously reported single nucleotide polymorphisms (within the catechol-O-methyltransferase gene) found to be associated with schizophrenia. A modest allelic association of P=0.041 was found between schizophrenia and the microsatellite marker D22S944, which was not significant, however, when corrected for all microsatellites tested. Nevertheless, significant linkage disequilibrium was found between this marker and the three single nucleotide polymorphisms within the catechol-O-methyltransferase gene that displayed association with the disease in the previously published research on this sample. Significant linkage disequilibrium was also observed between microsatellites up to approximately 300 kb distant from those single nucleotide polymorphisms. Although significant, the extent of linkage disequilibrium in terms of r2 was small (in the order of 0.01).