The Early Auditory Gamma-Band Response Is Heritable and a Putative Endophenotype of Schizophrenia

Mei-Hua Hall, Grantley Taylor, Pak Sham, Katja Schulze, Fruhling Rijsdijk, Marco Picchioni, Timothea Toulopoulou, Ulrich Ettinger, Elvira Bramon, Robin M. Murray, Dean F. Salisbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Reduced power and phase locking of the early auditory gamma-band response (EAGBR) have been reported in schizophrenia, but findings are equivocal. Further, little is known about genetic (heritability) and environmental influences on the EAGBR or its potential as an endophenotype of schizophrenia. The present study used a twin design to examine whether EAGBR power and phase locking are heritable and reduced in schizophrenic patients and their unaffected co-twins and thus putative endophenotypes of schizophrenia. Methods: The study sample included a total of 194 individuals, consisting of 15 monozygotic [MZ] twin pairs concordant for schizophrenia, 9 MZ twin pairs discordant for schizophrenia, and 42 MZ and 31 dizygotic (DZ) control pairs. Evoked power and phase-locking factor of the EAGBR were computed on Morlet wavelet transformed electroencephalogram responses to standard tones during an auditory oddball target detection task. Structural equation modeling was applied to estimate heritability and genetic and environmental correlations with schizophrenia for the EAGBR measures. Results: Both evoked power and phase-locking phenotypes were heritable traits (power: h(2) = 0.65; phase locking: h(2) = 0.63). Impaired EAGBR measures were significantly associated with schizophrenia. Patients with schizophrenia and their unaffected identical co-twins exhibited significantly reduced EAGBR power compared with control subjects. In each phenotype, shared genetic factors were likely the source of the observed associations with schizophrenia. Conclusions: Our results support EAGBR measures as putative endophenotypes of schizophrenia, likely reflecting an ubiquitous local cortical circuit deficit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)778 - 787
Number of pages10
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


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