T helper 17 (Th17) pathway has been reported to be abnormal in schizophrenia; however, it is not known whether variation within genes of this pathway has any impact on schizophrenia. Herein, the impact of genetic variations and gene–gene interactions of Th17 pathway-related genes on the risk, psychopathology, and brain volume was examined in schizophrenia patients.
Functional polymorphisms within interleukin 6 (IL6)(rs1800795 and rs1800797), IL10 (rs1800872 and rs1800896), IL17A (rs2275913 and rs8193036), IL22 (rs2227484 and rs2227485), IL23R (rs1884444), and IL27 (rs153109 and rs181206) genes were studied in 224 schizophrenia patients and 226 healthy controls. These variants were correlated with the brain morphometry, analyzed using MRI in a subset of patients (n = 117) and controls (n = 137).
Patients carrying CC genotype of rs2227484 of IL22 gene had significantly higher apathy total score [F (1,183) = 5.60; P = 0.019; partial ɳ2 = 0.030]. Significant epistatic interactions between IL6 (rs1800797) and IL17A (rs2275913) genes were observed in schizophrenia patients. GG genotype of rs2275913 of IL17A gene was associated with reduced right middle occipital gyrus volume in schizophrenia patients (T = 4.56; P < 0.001).
Interactions between genes of Th17 pathway impact the risk for schizophrenia. The variants of Th17 pathway-related genes seem to have a determining effect on psychopathology and brain morphometric changes in schizophrenia.