Association of APOE gene with schizophrenia in Chinese: A possible risk factor in times of malnutrition

Wanqing Liu, Gerome Breen, Jiangang Zhang, Sheng Li, Niufan Gu, Guoyin Feng, Shaochun Bai, Tao Shen, Albert Yu, Hong Xue, David St Clair, Lin He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Five hundred and seventy nine Chinese patients with schizophrenia who met DSMIV criteria for the disorder were genotyped for alleles ε2,3,4 of apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene. All were recruited from inpatients and outpatients attending a large mental health centre in Shanghai. Results were compared to APOE data on 1528 controls drawn from the same area. Major differences in APOE genotype ratios and allele frequencies were observed between the patients and controls. The patients with schizophrenia had highly significantly (p<0.0001) increased ε4/-genotypes and allele frequencies, and decreased ε3/3 genotypes and ε3 allele frequencies compared to controls. The effect was independent of sex and/or age of onset of illness, but strongly influenced by date of birth. Significant differences were restricted to individuals with schizophrenia born either before 1949 or during the period 1958-1967. Both were times of severe food shortages and malnutrition. We suggest that APOE may operate as an additional risk factor for schizophrenia in individuals subjected to fetal and/or early postnatal malnutrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-230
Number of pages6
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003



  • APOE
  • China
  • Fetal and perinatal malnutrition
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

Liu, W., Breen, G., Zhang, J., Li, S., Gu, N., Feng, G., Bai, S., Shen, T., Yu, A., Xue, H., St Clair, D., & He, L. (2003). Association of APOE gene with schizophrenia in Chinese: A possible risk factor in times of malnutrition. Schizophrenia Research, 62(3), 225-230.