Nicotine acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are implicated in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia because the prevalence of smoking among schizophrenic patients is extraordinarily high, and nicotine has been demonstrated to improve some psychophysiological dysfunction in schizophrenics. In addition, recent studies have suggested linkage of the α7 nAChR gene region in families of schizophrenics. In a population-based association study, we tested the hypothesis that the allelic variant, with a 2-bp deletion, of the human α7 nAChR gene confers susceptibility to schizophrenic disorders. We genotyped α7 nAChR in 146 patients with schizophrenic disorders and 151 controls. The results showed no significant difference in genotype or allele frequencies between schizophrenic patients and control subjects. This suggests that α7 nAChR 2-bp deletion plays no major role in the pathogenesis of schizophrenic disorders. Other nAChR variants in schizophrenic disorders may need further investigation.

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