Recently, two genome scan meta-analysis studies have found strong evidence for the association of loci on chromosome 8p with schizophrenia. The early growth response 3 (EGR3) gene located in chromosome 8p21.3 was also found to be involved in the etiology of schizophrenia. However, subsequent studies failed to replicate this finding. To investigate the genetic role of EGR3 in Chinese patients, we genotyped four SNPs (average interval ~2.3 kb) in the chromosome region of EGR3 in 470 Chinese schizophrenia patients and 480 healthy control subjects. The SNP rs35201266 (located in intron 1 of EGR3) showed significant differences between cases and controls in both genotype frequency distribution (P = 0.016) and allele frequency distribution (P = 0.009). Analysis of the haplotype rs35201266-rs3750192 provided significant evidence for association with schizophrenia (P = 0.0012); a significant difference was found for the common haplotype AG (P = 0.0005). Furthermore, significant associations were also found in several other two-, and three-SNP tests of haplotype analyses. The meta-analysis revealed a statistically significant association between rs35201266 and schizophrenia (P = 0.0001). In summary, our study supports the association of EGR3 with schizophrenia in our Han Chinese sample, and further functional exploration of the EGR3 gene will contribute to the molecular basis for the complex network underlying schizophrenia pathogenesis.
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