NMDA receptor dysfunction may be involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Based on this hypothesis, we screened 48 Japanese patients with schizophrenia for mutations in the coding region of the NMDAR2B subunit gene (GRIN2B). An association study between the identified DNA sequence variants and schizophrenia was performed in 268 Japanese patients with schizophrenia and 337 Japanese control subjects. Eight single nucleotide polymorphisms were detected, all of which were synonymous. The association sample showed statistically significant excesses of homozygosity for the polymorphisms in the 3' region of the last exon in the patients with schizophrenia (P = 0.004) and higher frequency of the G allele of the 366C/G polymorphism (corrected P = 0.04) in the patients than in the controls. Although we did not detect NMDAR2B protein variants, our findings support the possibility that the GRIN2B gene or a locus in linkage disequilibrium with it may confer susceptibility to schizophrenia. Replication studies in independent samples are warranted.
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