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Schizophrenia is a clinically heterogeneous disorder. Proposed revisions in DSM-5 included dimensional measurement of different symptom domains. We sought to identify common genetic variants influencing these dimensions, and confirm a previous association between polygenic risk of schizophrenia and the severity of negative symptoms. The Psychiatric Genomics Consortium study of schizophrenia comprised 8,432 cases of European ancestry with available clinical phenotype data. Symptoms averaged over the course of illness were assessed using the OPCRIT, PANSS, LDPS, SCAN, SCID, and CASH. Factor analyses of each constituent PGC study identified positive, negative, manic, and depressive symptom dimensions. We examined the relationship between the resultant symptom dimensions and aggregate polygenic risk scores indexing risk of schizophrenia. We performed genome-wide association study (GWAS) of each quantitative traits using linear regression and adjusting for significant effects of sex and ancestry. The negative symptom factor was significantly associated with polygene risk scores for schizophrenia, confirming a previous, suggestive finding by our group in a smaller sample, though explaining only a small fraction of the variance. In subsequent GWAS, we observed the strongest evidence of association for the positive and negative symptom factors, with SNPs in RFX8 on 2q11.2 (P=6.27×10-8) and upstream of WDR72/UNC13C on 15q21.3 (P=7.59×10-8), respectively. We report evidence of association of novel modifier loci for schizophrenia, though no single locus attained established genome-wide significance criteria. As this may have been due to insufficient statistical power, follow-up in additional samples is warranted. Importantly, we replicated our previous finding that polygenic risk explains at least some of the variance in negative symptoms, a core illness dimension.

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