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: In animal studies, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is an important regulator of central nervous system development and synaptic plasticity. WAGR (Wilms tumour, Aniridia, Genitourinary anomalies, and mental Retardation) syndrome is caused by 11p13 deletions of variable size near the BDNF locus and can serve as a model for studying human BDNF haploinsufficiency (+/-). We hypothesized that BDNF+/- would be associated with more severe cognitive impairment in subjects with WAGR syndrome. Twenty-eight subjects with WAGR syndrome (6-28 years), 12 subjects with isolated aniridia due to PAX6 mutations/microdeletions (7-54 years), and 20 healthy controls (4-32 years) received neurocognitive assessments. Deletion boundaries for the subjects in the WAGR group were determined by high-resolution oligonucleotide array comparative genomic hybridization. Within the WAGR group, BDNF+/- subjects (n = 15), compared with BDNF intact (+/+) subjects (n = 13), had lower adaptive behaviour (p = .02), reduced cognitive functioning (p = .04), higher levels of reported historical (p = .02) and current (p = .02) social impairment, and higher percentage meeting cut-off score for autism (p = .047) on Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised. These differences remained nominally significant after adjusting for visual acuity. Using diagnostic measures and clinical judgement, 3 subjects (2 BDNF+/- and 1 BDNF+/+) in the WAGR group (10.7%) were classified with autism spectrum disorder. A comparison group of visually impaired subjects with isolated aniridia had cognitive functioning comparable to that of healthy controls. In summary, among subjects with WAGR syndrome, BDNF+/- subjects had a mean Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Compose score that was 14-points lower and a mean intelligence quotient (IQ) that was 20-points lower than BDNF+/+ subjects. Our findings support the hypothesis that BDNF plays an important role in human neurocognitive development.Cortex 02/2013; 49(10). DOI:10.1016/j.cortex.2013.02.009 · 5.13 Impact Factor
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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 · 4.37 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Rare copy number variants (CNVs) disrupting ASTN2 or both ASTN2 and TRIM32 have been reported at 9q33.1 by genome-wide studies in a few individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. The vertebrate-specific astrotactins, ASTN2 and its paralog ASTN1, have key roles in glial-guided neuronal migration during brain development. To determine the prevalence of astrotactin mutations and delineate their associated phenotypic spectrum, we screened ASTN2/TRIM32 and ASTN1 (1q25.2) for exonic CNVs in clinical microarray data from 89,985 individuals across 10 sites, including 64,114 neurodevelopmental disorder subjects. In this clinical dataset, we identified 46 deletions and 12 duplications affecting ASTN2. Deletions of ASTN1 were much rarer. Deletions near the 3' terminus of ASTN2, which would disrupt all transcript isoforms (a subset of these deletions also included TRIM32), were significantly enriched in the neurodevelopmental disorder subjects (p=0.002) compared with 44,085 population-based controls. Frequent phenotypes observed in individuals with such deletions included Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), speech delay, anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The 3'-terminal ASTN2 deletions were significantly enriched compared with controls in males with neurodevelopmental disorders, but not in females. Upon quantifying ASTN2 human brain RNA, we observed shorter isoforms expressed from an alternative transcription start site of recent evolutionary origin near the 3' end. Spatiotemporal expression profiling in the human brain revealed consistently high ASTN1 expression while ASTN2 expression peaked in the early embryonic neocortex and postnatal cerebellar cortex. Our findings shed new light on the role of the astrotactins in psychopathology and their interplay in human neurodevelopment.Human Molecular Genetics 12/2013; 23(10). DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddt669 · 6.39 Impact Factor