L Wan, G Zhang, M Liu, C Wang, Y Li and R Li,
Comprehensive psychiatry, Aug 2019 19
Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) is the critical enzyme in biotransformation. The polymorphism of MTHFR is a risk factor for schizophrenia. However, whether the MTHFR polymorphism is associated with schizophrenia disease phenotypes and what is the underlying mechanism of MTHFR polymorphism in schizophrenia is under-investigated. In this study, we aim to verify the correlation between MTHFR polymorphisms and clinical features of schizophrenia, while exploring the differential genomic methylation and disease related genes as the potential targets for schizophrenia.242 patients of schizophrenia and 234 matched healthy controls were enrolled in this study. Polymorphisms of MTHFR from three sites (C677T, A1298C, G1793A) were examined by Taqman fluorescence probe method in leukocytes from all subjects. The positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS), trail making test (TMT) and Clinical Global Impression (CGI) were checked on patients. Genomic methylation was tested and analyzed in fields of differential methylation positions (DMPs) and enrichment of genes that are potentially related to schizophrenia.Schizophrenic patients showed higher frequency of MTHFR polymorphisms at both single and multiple sites than healthy controls. Our data also showed that MTHFR C677T and multiple-site polymorphisms were positively correlated with PANSS positive rating, not negative score in male schizophrenia patients. Furthermore, while a significant reduction of global DNA methylation level was observed in schizophrenic patients, we also identified several genes which differentiated between schizophrenia and healthy controls at methylation levels.This is a pilot study revealing that MTHFR polymorphisms at both single and multiple sites are related to the risk of schizophrenia and positive symptom of the disease. The risk of MTHFR polymorphism in schizophrenia and the clinical symptoms was only significant in male patients. While the sex-specific risk of MTHFR in schizophrenia is new and the reasons remain unanswered. Our methylation analysis suggested that there was significant hypomethylation of genomic DNA in schizophrenia patients with no sex difference. The correlation between MTHFR polymorphism and schizophrenia may attribute to the change of DNA methylation level, and some certain genes could be potential research objects for MTHFR effects on schizophrenia.