Effect of Rhesus D incompatibility on schizophrenia depends on offspring sex.

Research paper by Christina G S CG Palmer, Erin E Mallery, Joni A JA Turunen, Hsin-Ju HJ Hsieh, Leena L Peltonen, Jouko J Lonnqvist, J Arthur JA Woodward, Janet S JS Sinsheimer

Indexed on: 12 Aug '08Published on: 12 Aug '08Published in: Schizophrenia Research


Rhesus D incompatibility increases risk for schizophrenia, with some evidence that risk is limited to male offspring. The purpose of this study is to determine whether risk for schizophrenia due to Rhesus D incompatibility differs by offspring sex using a nuclear family-based candidate gene approach and a meta-analysis approach. The genetic study is based on a sample of 277 nuclear families with RHD genotype data on at least one parent and at least one child diagnosed with schizophrenia or related disorder. Meta-analysis inclusion criteria were (1) well-defined sample of schizophrenia patients with majority born before 1970, (2) Rhesus D incompatibility phenotype or genotype data available on mother and offspring, and by offspring sex. Two of ten studies, plus the current genetic study sample, fulfilled these criteria, for a total of 358 affected males and 226 affected females. The genetic study found that schizophrenia risk for incompatible males was significantly greater than for compatible offspring (p=0.03), while risk for incompatible and compatible females was not significantly different (p=.32). Relative risks for incompatible males and females were not significantly different from each other. Meta-analysis using a larger number of affected males and females supports their difference. Taken together, these results provide further support that risk of schizophrenia due to Rhesus D incompatibility is limited to incompatible males, although a weak female incompatibility effect cannot be excluded. Sex differences during fetal neurodevelopment should be investigated to fully elucidate the etiology of schizophrenia.