Schizophrenia is a heritable, heterogeneous common psychiatric disorder. In this study, we evaluated the hypothesis that de novo variants (DNVs) contribute to the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. We performed exome sequencing in Chinese patients (N = 45) with schizophrenia and their unaffected parents (N = 90). Forty genes were found to contain DNVs. These genes had enriched transcriptional co-expression profile in prenatal frontal cortex (Bonferroni corrected p < 9.1 × 10(-3)), and in prenatal temporal and parietal regions (Bonferroni corrected p < 0.03). Also, four prenatal anatomical subregions (VCF, MFC, OFC and ITC) have shown significant enrichment of connectedness in co-expression networks. Moreover, four genes (LRP1, MACF1, DICER1 and ABCA2) harboring the damaging de novo mutations are strongly prioritized as susceptibility genes by multiple evidences. Our findings in Chinese schizophrenic patients indicate the pathogenic role of DNVs, supporting the hypothesis that schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disease.