Objective: Schizophrenia (SCZ) is a type of psychotic disorder that affects ∼1% of the population. Dopamine is one of the major neurotransmitters in the brain and its receptors are associated with a number of psychotic disorders, including SCZ. The aims of the present study were to analyze methylation and the expression profile of dopamine receptor DRD1, DRD2, DRD4, and DRD5 genes in patients with SCZ.
Materials and methods: Promoter methylation of DRD1, DRD2, DRD4, and DRD5 genes was assayed by a methylation-specific PCR in blood samples obtained from 80 SCZ cases and 71 healthy controls. Also, we investigated DRD1, DRD2, DRD4, and DRD5 mRNA levels using real-time reverse transcription PCR in 34 blood samples of healthy controls and cases.
Results: Promoter methylation of DRD4, DRD5, and DRD2 genes was statistically different in cases compared with healthy controls. The mRNA expression level results also showed statistically significant differences (P<0.0001) between cases and healthy controls for the DRD2, DRD4, and DRD5 genes, but not for DRD1.
Conclusion: Analyses of DRD genes’ methylation have highlighted the fact that the DRD gene network, overall, is actively involved in the increased risk of SCZ.