The Major Histocompatibility Complex, HFE and schizophrenia

The Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) has been associated with schizophrenia. The hemochromatosis gene, HFE, which regulates iron levels is linked to the MHC on chromosome 6. In cells that express HFE IRP1 and IRP2 binding increases as the labile iron pool decreases with increased HFE expression. IRP1 and IRP2 are regulated by iron levels. Genetic studies that have associated the MHC region with schizophrenia frequently conclude that this is evidence for an infectious etiology to schizophrenia as the MHC is involved in immunity. What genetic associations of the MHC to schizophrenia could be picking up is associations of HFE with schizophrenia where such associations arise due to dysregulations in iron metabolism.

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