Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2015 Apr;13(1):94-102. 10.9758/cpn.2015.13.1.94.

Shared and Distinct Neurocognitive Endophenotypes of Schizophrenia and Psychotic Bipolar Disorder

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.


OBJECTIVE: Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are characterized by the presence of neurocognitive impairments on the psychosis continuum. The present study aimed to explore the shared and distinct endophenotypes between these disorders.
The study included 34 probands with remitted schizophrenia and 34 probands with euthymic bipolar disorder who had a history of psychotic symptoms that met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition (DSM-IV) criteria, unaffected first-degree relatives of probands (31 relatives of probands with schizophrenia and 29 relatives of probands with bipolar disorder), and 34 healthy controls. Cognitive assessments were performed using the digit span, continuous performance, Rey auditory and visual learning, complex figure, verbal fluency, Wisconsin card sorting, and finger tapping tests.
Probands with schizophrenia showed the most generalized and severe cognitive deficits across cognitive domains (working memory, verbal learning and memory, visual memory, verbal fluency, and executive function). Some domains of cognitive function (working memory, verbal learning, and memory) were also impaired in probands with bipolar disorder, but to a lesser degree than in probands with schizophrenia. All probands and relatives showed a common deficit in working memory compared to healthy controls. Relatives of probands with schizophrenia also showed verbal fluency dysfunction. Cognitive performance of all relatives was intermediate to the performance of both patients and healthy controls.
These findings suggest that a deficit in working memory could be a shared endophenotype of genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar disorder, and verbal fluency could be a candidate endophenotype for schizophrenia specifically.


Schizophrenia; Bipolar disorder; Endophenotypes; Cognition
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