Associations of schizophrenia risk genes ZNF804A and CACNA1C with schizotypy and modulation of attention in healthy subjects.
Schizotypy is a multidimensional risk phenotype distributed in the general population, constituting of subclinical, psychotic-like symptoms. It is associated with psychosis proneness, and several risk genes for psychosis are associated with schizotypy in non-clinical populations. Schizotypy might also modulate cognitive abilities as it is associated with attentional deficits in healthy subjects. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that established genetic risk variants ZNF804A rs1344706 and CACNA1C rs1006737 are associated with psychometric schizotypy and that schizotypy mediates their effect on attention or vice versa. In 615 healthy subjects from the FOR2107 cohort study, we analysed the genetic risk variants ZNF804A rs1344706 and CACNA1C rs1006737, psychometric schizotypy (schizotypal personality questionnaire-brief SPQB), and a neuropsychological measure of sustained and selective attention (d2 test). ZNF804A rs1344706 C (non-risk) alleles were significantly associated with higher SPQ-B Cognitive-Perceptual subscores in women and with attention deficits in both sexes. This schizotypy dimension also mediated the effect of ZNF804A on attention in women, but not in men. CACNA1C rs1006737-A showed a significant sex-modulated negative association with Interpersonal schizotypy only in men, and no effect on attention. Our multivariate model demonstrates differential genetic contributions of two psychosis risk genes to dimensions of schizotypy and, partly, to attention. This supports a model of shared genetic influence between schizotypy and cognitive functions impaired in schizophrenia.