Schizophrenia is a heterogenous disorder that is phenomenologically characterised by a combination of negative, positive, and cognitive symptoms with variable expression in the course of illness. Here, we investigated differential gene expression in relation to age to address the heterogeneity of this disorder We used 6000 gene cDNA microarrays to generate gene expression profiles from peripheral blood lymphocytes from 14 individuals with schizophrenia and 14 non-psychiatric controls. Genes showing altered expression were identified and 18 genes with brain-related functions were altered, 4 of which, endothelial differentiation gene 2 (Edg-2), ezrin–radixin–moesin phosphoprotein 50 (EBP50), Myc-associated zinc finger protein (MAZ) and Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor 2 (TNFR2), were confirmed by relative real-time PCR. Dendrograms were constructed using genes that showed significantly different expression (p < 0.05) between groups based on median split of age dividing the matched pairs into distinct subclasses. Our findings suggest that distinct gene expression profiles in peripheral blood lymphocytes associated with schizophrenia phenotypes may provide a first step towards the biological classification of schizophrenia subtypes. The validity of this approach may lead to better methods of defining this enigmatic disease.
Schizophrenia Research Vol. 82, Issue 2-3, p. 175-183