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The dopamine D3 receptor gene (DRD3) is a meaningful candidate gene because it unifies the dopamine and the limbic hypotheses for schizophrenia. We tested for an allelic association between schizophrenia and the DRD3 Mscl alleles, hypothesising heterogeneity between childhood/early adolescence-onset schizophrenia (CO-SZ) and adult-onset schizophrenia (A-SZ).
The frequencies of the DRD3 alleles were compared between 70 DSM-III-R schizophrenics (35 CO-SZ and 35 A-SZ) and 79 controls.
Compared with the controls, the subsample of A-SZ, but not CO-SZ, showed an over-proportion (P = 0.025) of allele 1. The association was not found in the total sample, combining the two subsamples.
Consistently with former studies, our data suggest an aetiological heterogeneity between CO-SZ and A-SZ and a possible specificity of the excess of allele 1 to the familial form of schizophrenia and to schizophrenia with a better outcome.
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