The genetic variation of RELN expression in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

Galit Ovadia, Sagiv Shifman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Reelin plays an important role in the development and function of the brain and has been linked to different neuropsychiatric diseases. To further clarify the connection between reelin and psychiatric disorders, we studied the factors that influence the expression of reelin gene (RELN) and its different isoforms. We examined the total expression of RELN, allelic expression, and two alternative RELN isoforms in postmortem brain samples from patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as well as unaffected controls. We did not find a significant reduction in the total expression of RELN in schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. However, we did find a significant reduction of the proportion of the short RELN isoform, missing the C-terminal region in bipolar disorder, and imbalance in the allelic expression of RELN in schizophrenia. In addition, we tested the association between variation in RELN expression and rs7341475, an intronic SNP that was found to be associated with schizophrenia in women. We did not find an association between rs7341474 and the total expression of RELN either in women or in the entire sample. However, we observed a nominally significant effect of genotype-by-sex interaction on the variation in microexon skipping. Women with the risk genotype of rs7341475 (GG) had a higher proportion of microexon skipping, which is the isoform predominant in tissues outside the brain, while men had the opposite trend. Finally, we tested 83 SNPs in the gene region for association with expression variation of RELN, but none were significant. Our study further supports the connection between RELN dysfunction and psychiatric disorders, and provides a possible functional role for a schizophrenia associated SNP. Nevertheless, the positive associations observed in this study needs further replication as it may have implications for understanding the biological causes of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere19955
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2011


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