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Cognitive outcome and gamma noise power unrelated to neuregulin 1 and 3 variation in schizophrenia

Álvaro Díez1, Clara Cieza-Borrella23, Vanessa Suazo24, Rogelio González-Sarmiento23, Sergi Papiol56 and Vicente Molina2478*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Psychiatry, Faculty of Brain Sciences, University College London, London W1W 7EJ, UK

2 Institute of Biomedical Research of Salamanca (IBSAL), Salamanca 37007, Spain

3 Molecular Medicine Unit, Department of Medicine and Institute of Molecular and Cellular Cancer Biology (IBMCC), University of Salamanca & CSIC, Salamanca 37007, Spain

4 Neuroscience Institute of Castilla y León (INCYL), University of Salamanca, Salamanca 37007, Spain

5 Anthropology Unit, Animal Biology Department, University of Barcelona, Barcelona 08028, Spain

6 Clinical Neuroscience Section, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Göttingen 37075, Germany

7 Psychiatry Department, School of Medicine, University of Valladolid, Valladolid 47005, Spain

8 Psychiatry Service, University Hospital of Valladolid, Avenida Ramón y Cajal, 7, Valladolid 47005, Spain

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Annals of General Psychiatry 2014, 13:18  doi:10.1186/1744-859X-13-18

Published: 14 June 2014



Neuregulins are a family of signalling proteins that orchestrate a broad range of cellular responses. Four genes encoding Neuregulins 1–4 have been identified so far in vertebrates. Among them, Neuregulin 1 and Neuregulin 3 have been reported to contribute to an increased risk for developing schizophrenia. We hypothesized that three specific variants of these genes (rs6994992 and rs3924999 for Neuregulin 1 and rs10748842 for Neuregulin 3) that have been related to this illness may modify information processing capacity in the cortex, which would be reflected in electrophysiological parameters (P3b amplitude or gamma noise power) and/or cognitive performance.


We obtained DNA from 31 patients with schizophrenia and 23 healthy controls and analyzed NRG1 rs6994992, NRG1 rs3924999 and NRG3 rs10748842 promoter polymorphisms by allelic discrimination with real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We compared cognitive outcome, P300 amplitude parameters and an electroencephalographic measure of noise power in the gamma band between the groups dichotomized according to genotype.


Contrary to our hypothesis, we could not detect any significant influence of variation in Neuregulin 1/Neuregulin 3 polymorphisms on cognitive performance or electrophysiological parameters of patients with schizophrenia.


Despite our findings, we cannot discard that other genetic variants and, more likely, interactions between those variants and with genetic variation related to different pathways may still influence cerebral processing in schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia; Brain wave; Auditory evoked potential; NRG1 protein; NRG3 protein