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Is there an association between advanced paternal age and endophenotype deficit levels in schizophrenia?

  • Author(s): Tsuang, Debby
  • Esterberg, Michelle
  • Braff, David
  • Calkins, Monica
  • Cadenhead, Kristin
  • Dobie, Dorcas
  • Freedman, Robert
  • Green, Michael F
  • Greenwood, Tiffany
  • Gur, Raquel
  • Gur, Ruben
  • Horan, William
  • Lazzeroni, Laura C
  • Light, Gregory A
  • Millard, Steven P
  • Olincy, Ann
  • Nuechterlein, Keith
  • Seidman, Larry
  • Siever, Larry
  • Silverman, Jeremy
  • Stone, William
  • Sprock, Joyce
  • Sugar, Catherine
  • Swerdlow, Neal
  • Tsuang, Ming
  • Turetsky, Bruce
  • Radant, Allen
  • et al.

The children of older fathers have increased risks of developing schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and among those who develop these disorders, those with older fathers present with more severe clinical symptoms. However, the influence of advanced paternal age on other important domains related to schizophrenia, such as quantitative endophenotype deficit levels, remains unknown. This study investigated the associations between paternal age and level of endophenotypic impairment in a well-characterized family-based sample from the Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia (COGS). All families included at least one affected subject and one unaffected sibling. Subjects met criteria for schizophrenia (probands; n = 293) or were unaffected first-degree siblings of those probands (n = 382). Paternal age at the time of subjects' birth was documented. Subjects completed a comprehensive clinical assessment and a battery of tests that measured 16 endophenotypes. After controlling for covariates, potential paternal age-endophenotype associations were analyzed using one model that included probands alone and a second model that included both probands and unaffected siblings. Endophenotype deficits in the Identical Pairs version of the 4-digit Continuous Performance Test and in the Penn Computerized Neurocognitive Battery verbal memory test showed significant associations with paternal age. However, after correcting for multiple comparisons, no endophenotype was significantly associated with paternal age. These findings suggest that factors other than advanced paternal age at birth may account for endophenotypic deficit levels in schizophrenia.

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