Highly Penetrant Alterations of a Critical Region Including BDNF in Human Psychopathology and Obesity
ABSTRACT CONTEXT Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is suspected of being a causative factor in psychiatric disorders based on case reports or studies involving large structural anomalies. OBJECTIVE To determine the involvement of BDNF in human psychopathology. DESIGN Case-control study. SETTING Microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization data from 7 molecular diagnostic centers including 38 550 affected subjects and 28 705 unaffected subjects. PATIENTS Subjects referred to diagnostic screening centers for microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization for physical or cognitive impairment. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Genomic copy number gains and losses. RESULTS We report 5 individuals with psychopathology and genomic deletion of a critical region including BDNF. The defined critical region was never disrupted in control subjects or diagnostic cases without developmental abnormalities. CONCLUSION Hemizygosity of the BDNF region contributes to variable psychiatric phenotypes including anxiety, behavioral, and mood disorders.
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ABSTRACT: The increased prevalence and high comorbidity of metabolic syndrome and mental health disorders have prompted investigation into the potential contributing mechanisms. There is a bidirectional association between metabolic syndrome and mental health disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorders. Medication side effects and social repercussions are contributing environmental factors, but there are a number of shared underlying neurological and physiological mechanisms that explain the high comorbidity between these two disorders. Inflammation is a state shared by both disorders, and it contributes to disruptions of neuroregulatory systems, including the serotonergic, dopaminergic, and neuropeptide Y systems, as well as dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Metabolic syndrome in pregnant women also exposes the developing fetal brain to inflammatory factors that predispose the offspring to metabolic syndrome and mental health disorders. Due to the shared nature of these conditions, treatment should address aspects of both mental health and metabolic disorders. Additionally, interventions need to be developed that can interrupt the transfer of increased risk of the disorders to the next generation. © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.Neuroendocrinology 09/2013; 98(4). DOI:10.1159/000355632 · 4.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The last several years have seen unprecedented advances in deciphering the genetic etiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Heritability studies have repeatedly affirmed a contribution of genetic factors to the overall disease risk. Technical breakthroughs have enabled the search for these genetic factors via genome-wide surveys of a spectrum of potential sequence variations, from common single-nucleotide polymorphisms to essentially private chromosomal abnormalities. Studies of copy-number variation have identified significant roles for both recurrent and nonrecurrent large dosage imbalances, although they have rarely revealed the individual genes responsible. More recently, discoveries of rare point mutations and characterization of balanced chromosomal abnormalities have pinpointed individual ASD genes of relatively strong effect, including both loci with strong a priori biological relevance and those that would have otherwise been unsuspected as high-priority biological targets. Evidence has also emerged for association with many common variants, each adding a small individual contribution to ASD risk. These findings collectively provide compelling empirical data that the genetic basis of ASD is highly heterogeneous, with hundreds of genes capable of conferring varying degrees of risk, depending on their nature and the predisposing genetic alteration. Moreover, many genes that have been implicated in ASD also appear to be risk factors for related neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as for a spectrum of psychiatric phenotypes. While some ASD genes have evident functional significance, like synaptic proteins such as the SHANKs, neuroligins, and neurexins, as well as fragile x mental retardation-associated proteins, ASD genes have also been discovered that do not present a clear mechanism of specific neurodevelopmental dysfunction, such as regulators of chromatin modification and global gene expression. In its sum, the progress from genetic studies to date has been remarkable and increasingly rapid, but the interactive impact of strong-effect genetic lesions coupled with weak-effect common polymorphisms has not yet led to a unified understanding of ASD pathogenesis or explained its highly variable clinical expression. With an increasingly firm genetic foundation, the coming years will hopefully see equally rapid advances in elucidating the functional consequences of ASD genes and their interactions with environmental/experiential factors, supporting the development of rational interventions.Harvard Review of Psychiatry 22(2):65-75. DOI:10.1097/HRP.0000000000000002 · 2.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of neurodevelopmental disorders starting in early childhood and is characterized by impairments in communication and reciprocal social interaction and presence of restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior. The contribution of genetic factors to autism is clear in twin and family studies. It is apparent that, overall, ASD is a complex non-Mendelian disorder. Recent studies suggest that copy number variations (CNVs) play a significant role in the etiology of ASD. For the current work, we recruited 245 family members from 73 ASD families from Styria, Austria. The DNA from probands was genotyped with Affymetrix single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) 6.0 microarrays to screen for CNVs in their genomes. Analysis of the microarray data was performed using three different algorithms, and a list of stringent calls was compared to existing CNV data from over 2,357 controls of European ancestry. For stringent calls not present in controls, quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) was used to validate the CNVs in the probands and in their family members. Twenty-two CNVs were validated from this set (five of which are apparently de novo), many of which appear likely to disrupt genes that may be considered as good candidates for neuropsychiatric disorders, including DLG2, S100B, ARX, DIP2A, HPCAL1, and GPHN. Several others disrupt genes that have previously been implicated in autism, such as BDNF, AUTS2, DPP6, and C18orf22, and our data add to the growing evidence of their involvement in ASD.Neurogenetics 03/2014; 15(2). DOI:10.1007/s10048-014-0394-0 · 2.66 Impact Factor