Decreased fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) is associated with lower IQ and earlier illness onset in patients with schizophrenia

Author(s): Kovács T, Kelemen O, Kéri S


The purpose of this study was to investigate Fragile X Syndrome (FXS)-related mechanisms in schizophrenia, including CGG triplet expansion, FMR1 mRNA, and fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) levels in lymphocytes. We investigated 36 patients with schizophrenia and 30 healthy controls using Southern blot analysis, mRNA assay, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). General intellectual functions were assessed with the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III, and the clinical symptoms were evaluated with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. Results revealed that, relative to healthy controls, CGG triplet size and FMR1 mRNA were unaltered in patients with schizophrenia. However, the FMRP level was significantly reduced in patients compared with controls. We found an association between lower FMRP levels, reduced IQ, and earlier illness onset in schizophrenia. Chlorpromazine-equivalent antipsychotic dose did not correlate with FMRP levels. These results raise the possibility of impaired translation of FMR1 mRNA, altered epigenetic regulation, or increased degradation of FMRP in schizophrenia, which may play a role in dysfunctional neurodevelopmental processes and impaired neuroplasticity.

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