Autism Spectrum and psychosis risk in the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. Findings from a prospective longitudinal study

A. M. Fiksinski, E. J. Breetvelt, S. N. Duijff, A. S. Bassett, R. S. Kahn, J. A.S. Vorstman

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51 Scopus citations


Background Individuals with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) have a 25% risk for schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. Some have hypothesized that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) diagnosed in children with 22q11DS may actually represent the social-communicative defects often observed during the early developmental stages of schizophrenia. Methods We prospectively studied 89 children with 22q11DS to test this hypothesis. At baseline, the Autism Diagnostic Interview was used to assess ASD, evaluating both current and early childhood behaviors. At follow-up, the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children (K-SADS) was used to determine development of a psychotic disorder or psychotic symptoms. Results The average age (± SD) at first and last assessments was 14.3 ± 1.9 and 19.0 ± 3.0 years, respectively. Nineteen (21.3%) children developed a psychotic disorder. Contrary to our hypothesis, there was no significant difference in the proportion that developed a psychotic disorder, comparing those with (n = 9, 17.3%) and those without ASD at baseline (n = 10, 27%; OR = 0.500, 95% CI = 0.160–1.569, p = 0.235). Similar results were obtained using autistic symptom severity as quantitative predicting variable, psychotic symptoms as the outcome, and when correcting for age, gender and full scale IQ. Conclusion Results indicate that in children with 22q11DS, early childhood autistic features are not associated with an increased risk for subsequent development of psychotic disorders or symptoms, replicating previous retrospective findings in adults with 22q11DS. These results indicate that ASD and psychotic disorders can emerge independently, as pleiotropic phenotypes in the context of 22q11DS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-62
Number of pages4
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • 22q11DS
  • Comorbidity
  • Genetic
  • High risk
  • Schizophrenia
  • Velocardiofacial syndrome


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