Partitioning the etiology of hoarding and obsessive–compulsive symptoms

Psychological Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.94). 02/2014; 44(13):1-10. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291714000269
Source: PubMed


Until recently, hoarding was considered an obsessive-compulsive symptom (OCS). However, current evidence suggests that these two phenotypes may be clinically, and perhaps etiologically, distinct. Both hoarding and OCS have a genetic etiology, but the degree of unique and shared genetic contributions to these phenotypes has not been well studied.

Prevalence rates were assessed for hoarding and OCS in a sample of adult twin pairs (n = 7906 twins) and their family members from The Netherlands Twin Register (total sample = 15,914). Using Mplus, genetic analyses using liability threshold models were conducted for both phenotypes, for their co-morbidity, and for specific hoarding symptoms (cluttering, discarding and acquiring).

Of the total sample, 6.7% met criteria for clinically significant hoarding; endorsement of all three hoarding symptoms was > or = 79%. Men had slightly higher rates than women. Also, 5.7% met criteria for clinically significant OCS; rates were similar in males and females. Genetic factors accounted for 36% of the variance for hoarding and 40% of the variance for OCS. The genetic correlation between hoarding and OCS was 0.10. There was no evidence of sex-specific genetic contributions for hoarding or OCS. There was evidence for a genetic contribution to all hoarding symptom subtypes. Only cluttering showed evidence of a contribution from the shared environment.

OCS and hoarding are common in this population-based sample, have prevalence rates similar to those previously reported, and show significant heritability. Genetic factors contributed to the co-morbidity of both traits, although the genetic correlation between them was low.

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    ABSTRACT: This study investigates the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors to the stability of obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms in an adult population-based sample. We collected data from twin pairs and their siblings, using the Padua Inventory Revised Abbreviated, from the population-based Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) in 2002 (n = 10.134) and 2008 (n = 15.720). Multivariate twin analyses were used to estimate the stability of OC symptoms as a function of genetic and environmental components. OC symptoms were found to be highly stable, with a longitudinal phenotypic correlation of 0.63. Longitudinal broad sense heritability was found to be 56.0%. Longitudinal correlations for genetic (r = 0.58 for additive, r = 1 for non-additive genetic factors) and non-shared environment (r = 0.46) reflected stable effects, indicating that both genes and environment are influencing the stability of OC symptoms in adults. For the first time, evidence is reported for non-additive genetic effects on the stability of OC symptoms. In conclusion, this study showed that OC symptoms are highly stable across time in adults, and that genetic effects contribute mostly to this stability, both in an additive and non-additive way, besides non-shared environmental factors. These data are informative with respect to adult sample selection for future genetic studies, and suggest that gene-gene interaction studies are needed to further understand the dominance effect found in this study.
    Twin Research and Human Genetics 12/2014; 18(01):1-9. DOI:10.1017/thg.2014.77 · 2.30 Impact Factor