[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Three genes, DYX1C1, DCDC2, and KIAA0319, have been previously associated with dyslexia, neuronal migration, and ciliary function. Three polymorphisms within these genes, rs3743204 (DYX1C1), rs793842 (DCDC2), and rs6935076 (KIAA0319) have also been linked to normal variability of left temporoparietal white matter volume connecting the middle temporal cortex to the angular and supramarginal gyri. Here, we assessed whether these polymorphisms are also related to the cortical thickness of the associated regions during childhood development using a longitudinal dataset of 76 randomly selected children and young adults who were scanned up to three times each, 2 years apart. rs793842 in DCDC2 was significantly associated with the thickness of left angular and supramarginal gyri as well as the left lateral occipital cortex. The cortex was significantly thicker for T-allele carriers, who also had lower white matter volume and lower reading comprehension scores. There was a negative correlation between white matter volume and cortical thickness, but only white matter volume predicted reading comprehension 2 years after scanning. These results show how normal variability in reading comprehension is related to gene, white matter volume, and cortical thickness in the inferior parietal lobe. Possibly, the variability of gray and white matter structures could both be related to the role of DCDC2 in ciliary function, which affects both neuronal migration and axonal outgrowth.
Journal of Neuroscience 10/2014; 34(43):14455-62. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: First, we explore the performance of nonword repetition (NWR) in children with specific language impairment (SLI) and typically developing children (TD) in order to investigate the accuracy of NWR as a clinical marker for SLI in Swedish-speaking school-age children. Second, we examine the relationship between NWR, family aggregation, and parental level of education in children with SLI. A sample of 61 children with SLI, and 86 children with TD, aged 8-12 years, were administered an NWR test. Family aggregation, measured as the prevalence of language and/or literacy problems (LLP) in parents of the children with SLI, was based on family history interviews. The sensitivity and specificity of nonword repetition was analyzed in a binary logistic regression, cut-off values were established with ROC curves, and positive and negative likelihood ratios reported. Results from the present study show that NWR distinguishes well between Swedish-speaking school-children with and without SLI. We found 90.2% sensitivity and 97.7% specificity at a cut-off level of -2 standard deviations for binary scoring of nonwords. Differences between the SLI and TD groups showed large effect sizes for the two scoring measures binary (d = 2.11) and percent correct consonants (PCC) (d = 1.79). The children with SLI were split into two subgroups: those with no parents affected with LLP (n = 12), and those with one or both parents affected (n = 49). The subgroup consisting of affected parents had a significantly lower score on NWR binary (p = .037), and there was a great difference between the subgroups (d = 0.7). When compared to the TD group, the difference from the subgroup with affected parents was almost one standard deviation larger (d = 2.47) than the difference from the TD to the subgroup consisting of non-affected parents (d = 1.57). Our study calls for further exploration of the complex interaction between family aggregation, language input, and phenotypes of SLI.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(2):e89544. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in interferon regulatory factor 6 (IRF6) account for ∼70% of cases of Van der Woude syndrome (VWS), the most common syndromic form of cleft lip and palate. In 8 of 45 VWS-affected families lacking a mutation in IRF6, we found coding mutations in grainyhead-like 3 (GRHL3). According to a zebrafish-based assay, the disease-associated GRHL3 mutations abrogated periderm development and were consistent with a dominant-negative effect, in contrast to haploinsufficiency seen in most VWS cases caused by IRF6 mutations. In mouse, all embryos lacking Grhl3 exhibited abnormal oral periderm and 17% developed a cleft palate. Analysis of the oral phenotype of double heterozygote (Irf6(+/-);Grhl3(+/-)) murine embryos failed to detect epistasis between the two genes, suggesting that they function in separate but convergent pathways during palatogenesis. Taken together, our data demonstrated that mutations in two genes, IRF6 and GRHL3, can lead to nearly identical phenotypes of orofacial cleft. They supported the hypotheses that both genes are essential for the presence of a functional oral periderm and that failure of this process contributes to VWS.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 12/2013; · 11.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dyslexia is one of the most common childhood disorders with a prevalence of around 5-10% in school-age children. Although an important genetic component is known to have a role in the aetiology of dyslexia, we are far from understanding the molecular mechanisms leading to the disorder. Several candidate genes have been implicated in dyslexia, including DYX1C1, DCDC2, KIAA0319, and the MRPL19/C2ORF3 locus, each with reports of both positive and no replications. We generated a European cross-linguistic sample of school-age children - the NeuroDys cohort - that includes more than 900 individuals with dyslexia, sampled with homogenous inclusion criteria across eight European countries, and a comparable number of controls. Here, we describe association analysis of the dyslexia candidate genes/locus in the NeuroDys cohort. We performed both case-control and quantitative association analyses of single markers and haplotypes previously reported to be dyslexia-associated. Although we observed association signals in samples from single countries, we did not find any marker or haplotype that was significantly associated with either case-control status or quantitative measurements of word-reading or spelling in the meta-analysis of all eight countries combined. Like in other neurocognitive disorders, our findings underline the need for larger sample sizes to validate possibly weak genetic effects.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 11 September 2013; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.199.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 09/2013; · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studying the effects of cognitive training can lead to finding better treatments, but it can also be a tool for investigating factors important for brain plasticity and acquisition of cognitive skills. In this study, we investigated how single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and ratings of intrinsic motivation were associated to interindividual differences in improvement during working memory training. The study included 256 children aged 7-19 years who were genotyped for 13 SNPs within or near eight candidate genes previously implicated in learning: COMT, SLC6A3 (DAT1), DRD4, DRD2, PPP1R1B (DARPP32), MAOA, LMX1A, and BDNF. Ratings on the intrinsic motivation inventory were also available for 156 of these children. All participants performed at least 20 sessions of working memory training, and performance during the training was logged and used as the outcome variable. We found that two SNPs, rs1800497 and rs2283265, located near and within the dopamine receptor 2 (DRD2) gene , respectively, were significantly associated with improvements during training (p < .003 and p < .0004, respectively). Scores from a questionnaire regarding intrinsic motivation did not correlate with training outcome. However, we observed both the main effect of genotype at those two loci as well as the interaction between genotypes and ratings of intrinsic motivation (perceived competence). Both SNPs have previously been shown to affect DRD2 receptor density primarily in the BG. Our results suggest that genetic variation is accounting for some interindividual differences in how children acquire cognitive skills and that part of this effect is also seen on intrinsic motivation. Moreover, they suggest that dopamine D2 transmission in the BG is a key factor for cognitive plasticity.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 09/2013; · 4.49 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives : (1) To detect interferon regulatory factor 6 gene (IRF6) mutations in newly recruited Van der Woude syndrome (VWS) and popliteal pterygium syndrome (PPS) families. (2) To test for association, in nonsyndromic cleft lip and/or cleft palate (NSCL/P) and in VWS/PPS families, the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs642961, from the IRF6 enhancer AP-2α region, alone or as haplotype with rs2235371, a coding SNP (Val274Ile). Design : IRF6 mutation screening was performed by direct sequencing and genotyping of rs642961 and rs2235371 by TaqMan technology. Patients : Seventy-one Swedish NSCL/P families, 24 Finnish cleft palate (CP) families, and 24 VWS/PPS families (seven newly recruited) were studied. Results : Allelic and genotypic frequencies in each phenotype were compared to those of the controls, and no significant difference could be observed. IRF6 gene mutation was detected in six of the seven new VWS/PPS families. Association analysis of the entire VWS/PPS sample set revealed the A allele from rs642961 to be a risk allele. Significant association was detected in the Swedish CP subset of our NSCL/P collection where the G-C haplotype for rs642961-rs2235371 were at risk (P = .013). Conclusions : Our results do not support the previously reported association between the A allele of rs642961 and the NSCL phenotype. However, in the VWS/PPS families, the A allele was a risk allele and was, in a large majority (>80%), transmitted on the same chromosome as the IRF6 mutation.
The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal 02/2013; · 1.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim was to study a broader phenotype of language-related diagnoses and problems in three generations of relatives of children with specific language impairment (SLI). Our study is based on a family history interview of the parents of 59 children with SLI and of 100 matched control children, exploring the prevalence of problems related to language, reading, attention, school achievement and social communication as well as diagnoses such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, Asperger syndrome, dyslexia, mental retardation, cleft palate and stuttering. The results show a spectrum of language-related problems in families of SLI children. In all three generations of SLI relatives, we found significantly higher prevalence rates of language, literacy and social communication problems. The risk of one or both parents having language-related diagnoses or problems was approximately six times higher for the children with SLI (85%) than for the control children (13%) (odds ratio = 37.2). We did not find a significantly higher prevalence of the diagnoses ADHD, autism or Asperger syndrome in the relatives of the children with SLI. However, significantly more parents of the children with SLI had problems with attention/hyperactivity when compared with the parents of controls. Our findings suggest common underlying mechanisms for problems with language, literacy and social communication, and possibly also for attention/hyperactivity symptoms.
Genes Brain and Behavior 08/2012; · 3.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Volume and integrity of white matter correlate with reading ability, but the underlying factors contributing to this variability are unknown.
We investigated single nucleotide polymorphisms in three genes previously associated with dyslexia and implicated in neuronal migration (DYX1C1, DCDC2, KIAA0319) and white matter volume in a cohort of 76 children and young adults from the general population.
We found that all three genes contained polymorphisms that were significantly associated with white matter volume in the left temporo-parietal region and that white matter volume influenced reading ability.
The identified region contained white matter pathways connecting the middle temporal gyrus with the inferior parietal lobe. The finding links previous neuroimaging and genetic results and proposes a mechanism underlying variability in reading ability in both normal and impaired readers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inspired by the localization, on 15q21.2 of the CYP19A1 gene in the linkage region of speech and language disorders, and a rare translocation in a dyslexic individual that was brought to our attention, we conducted a series of studies on the properties of CYP19A1 as a candidate gene for dyslexia and related conditions. The aromatase enzyme is a member of the cytochrome P450 super family, and it serves several key functions: it catalyzes the conversion of androgens into estrogens; during early mammalian development it controls the differentiation of specific brain areas (e.g. local estrogen synthesis in the hippocampus regulates synaptic plasticity and axonal growth); it is involved in sexual differentiation of the brain; and in songbirds and teleost fishes, it regulates vocalization. Our results suggest that variations in CYP19A1 are associated with dyslexia as a categorical trait and with quantitative measures of language and speech, such as reading, vocabulary, phonological processing and oral motor skills. Variations near the vicinity of its brain promoter region altered transcription factor binding, suggesting a regulatory role in CYP19A1 expression. CYP19A1 expression in human brain correlated with the expression of dyslexia susceptibility genes such as DYX1C1 and ROBO1. Aromatase-deficient mice displayed increased cortical neuronal density and occasional cortical heterotopias, also observed in Robo1-/- mice and human dyslexic brains, respectively. An aromatase inhibitor reduced dendritic growth in cultured rat neurons. From this broad set of evidence, we propose CYP19A1 as a candidate gene for human cognitive functions implicated in reading, speech and language.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A developmental increase in working memory capacity is an important part of cognitive development, and low working memory (WM) capacity is a risk factor for developing psychopathology. Brain activity represents a promising endophenotype for linking genes to behavior and for improving our understanding of the neurobiology of WM development. We investigated gene-brain-behavior relationships by focusing on 18 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in six dopaminergic candidate genes (COMT, SLC6A3/DAT1, DBH, DRD4, DRD5, MAOA). Visuospatial WM (VSWM) brain activity, measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging, and VSWM capacity were assessed in a longitudinal study of typically developing children and adolescents. Behavioral problems were evaluated using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). One SNP (rs6609257), located ~6.6 kb downstream of the monoamine oxidase A gene (MAOA) on human chromosome X, significantly affected brain activity in a network of frontal, parietal and occipital regions. Increased activity in this network, but not in caudate nucleus or anterior prefrontal regions, was correlated with VSWM capacity, which in turn predicted externalizing (aggressive/oppositional) symptoms, with higher WM capacity associated with fewer externalizing symptoms. There were no direct significant correlations between rs6609257 and behavioral symptoms. These results suggest a mediating role of WM brain activity and capacity in linking the MAOA gene to aggressive behavior during development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Independent studies have shown that candidate genes for dyslexia and specific language impairment (SLI) impact upon reading/language-specific traits in the general population. To further explore the effect of disorder-associated genes on cognitive functions, we investigated whether they play a role in broader cognitive traits. We tested a panel of dyslexia and SLI genetic risk factors for association with two measures of general cognitive abilities, or IQ, (verbal and non-verbal) in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) cohort (N>5,000). Only the MRPL19/C2ORF3 locus showed statistically significant association (minimum P = 0.00009) which was further supported by independent replications following analysis in four other cohorts. In addition, a fifth independent sample showed association between the MRPL19/C2ORF3 locus and white matter structure in the posterior part of the corpus callosum and cingulum, connecting large parts of the cortex in the parietal, occipital and temporal lobes. These findings suggest that this locus, originally identified as being associated with dyslexia, is likely to harbour genetic variants associated with general cognitive abilities by influencing white matter structure in localised neuronal regions.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e50321. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cognitive deficits and particularly deficits in working memory (WM) capacity are common features in neuropsychiatric disorders. Understanding the underlying mechanisms through which WM capacity can be improved is therefore of great importance. Several lines of research indicate that dopamine plays an important role not only in WM function but also for improving WM capacity. For example, pharmacological interventions acting on the dopaminergic system, such as methylphenidate, improve WM performance. In addition, behavioral interventions for improving WM performance in the form of intensive computerized training have recently been associated with changes in dopamine receptor density. These two different means of improving WM performance--pharmacological and behavioral--are thus associated with similar biological mechanisms in the brain involving dopaminergic systems. This article reviews some of the evidence for the role of dopamine in WM functioning, in particular concerning the link to WM development and cognitive plasticity. Novel data are presented showing that variation in the dopamine transporter gene (DAT1) influences improvements in WM and fluid intelligence in preschool-age children following cognitive training. Our results emphasize the importance of the role of dopamine in determining cognitive plasticity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genetic variation in the transcription factor interferon regulatory factor 6 (IRF6) causes and contributes risk for oral clefting disorders. We hypothesized that genes regulated by IRF6 are also involved in oral clefting disorders. We used five criteria to identify potential IRF6 target genes; differential gene expression in skin taken from wild-type and Irf6-deficient murine embryos, localization to the Van der Woude syndrome 2 (VWS2) locus at 1p36-1p32, overlapping expression with Irf6, presence of a conserved predicted-binding site in the promoter region, and a mutant murine phenotype that was similar to the Irf6 mutant mouse. Previously, we observed altered expression for 573 genes; 13 were located in the murine region syntenic to the VWS2 locus. Two of these genes, Wdr65 and Stratifin, met 4 of 5 criteria. Wdr65 was a novel gene that encoded a predicted protein of 1,250 amino acids with two WD domains. As potential targets for Irf6 regulation, we hypothesized that disease-causing mutations will be found in WDR65 and Stratifin in individuals with VWS or VWS-like syndromes. We identified a potentially etiologic missense mutation in WDR65 in a person with VWS who does not have an exonic mutation in IRF6. The expression and mutation data were consistent with the hypothesis that WDR65 was a novel gene involved in oral clefting.
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A 06/2011; 155A(6):1314-21. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: The Valine158Methionine (Val158Met) polymorphism of the COMT gene leads to lower enzymatic activity and higher dopamine availability in Met carriers. The Met allele is associated with better performance and reduced prefrontal cortex activation during working memory (WM) tasks in adults. Dopaminergic system changes during adolescence may lead to a reduction of basal dopamine levels, potentially affecting Met allele benefits during development. Methods: We investigated the association of COMT genotype with behavioral (n 322) and magnetic resonance imaging data (n 81– 84) collected during performance of a visuospatial WM task and potential changes in these effects during development (reflected in age genotype interactions). Data were collected from a cross-sectional and longitudinal typically developing sample of 6-to 20-year-olds. Results: Visuospatial WM capacity exhibited an age genotype interaction, with a benefit of the Met allele emerging after 10 years of age. There was a parallel age genotype interaction on WM-related activation in the right inferior frontal gyrus and intraparietal sulcus (IPS), with increases in activation with age in the Val/Val group only. Main effects of COMT genotype were also observed in the IPS, with greater gray matter volumes bilaterally and greater right IPS activation in the Val/Val group compared with the Met carriers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Four genes, DYX1C1, ROBO1, DCDC2 and KIAA0319 have been studied both genetically and functionally as candidate genes for developmental dyslexia, a common learning disability in children. The identification of novel genes is crucial to better understand the molecular pathways affected in dyslectic individuals. Here, we report results from a fine-mapping approach involving linkage and association analysis in Finnish and German dyslexic cohorts. We restrict a candidate region to 0.3 Mb on chromosome 7q33. This region harbours the gene diacylglycerol kinase, iota (DGKI) which contains overlapping haplotypes associated with dyslexia in both Finnish and German sample sets.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DCDC2 is one of the candidate susceptibility genes for dyslexia. It belongs to the superfamily of doublecortin domain containing proteins that bind to microtubules, and it has been shown to be involved in neuronal migration. We show that the Dcdc2 protein localizes to the primary cilium in primary rat hippocampal neurons and that it can be found within close proximity to the ciliary kinesin-2 subunit Kif3a. Overexpression of DCDC2 increases ciliary length and activates Shh signaling, whereas downregulation of Dcdc2 expression enhances Wnt signaling, consistent with a functional role in ciliary signaling. Moreover, DCDC2 overexpression in C. elegans causes an abnormal neuronal phenotype that can only be seen in ciliated neurons. Together our results suggest a potential role for DCDC2 in the structure and function of primary cilia.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(6):e20580. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Working memory (WM) is the ability to retain task relevant information. This ability is important for a wide range of cognitive tasks, and WM deficits are a central cognitive impairment in neurodevelopment disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although WM capacity is known to be highly heritable, most genes involved remain unidentified.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms in genes previously associated with cognitive functions or ADHD were selected for genotyping. Associations of these with WM tasks were investigated in a community sample of 330 children and young adults. One single nucleotide polymorphisms was also investigated in an independent sample of 88 4-year-old children. Furthermore, association between brain structure and activity, as measured by magnetic resonance imaging techniques, and single nucleotide polymorphisms alleles were estimated in 88 participants.
Genotype at rs363039, located in the gene coding for synaptosomal-associated protein, 25 kDa (SNAP25) was associated to WM capacity in both samples. Associations in the community sample were also found with measures of other cognitive functions. In addition, this polymorphism affected the gray matter and brain activity in the posterior cingulate cortex, an area included in the so-called default mode network previously correlated to regulation of attention and hypothesized to be implicated in ADHD.
A novel gene-brain-behavior network was identified in which a genotype located in SNAP25 affects WM and has age-dependent effects on both brain structure and brain activity. Identifying such networks could be a key to better understanding cognitive development as well as some of its disorders.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dyslexia-susceptibility-1-candidate-1 (DYX1C1) was the first gene associated with dyslexia. Since the original report of 2003, eight replication attempts have been published reporting discordant results. As the dyslexia community still considers the role of DYX1C1 unsettled, we explored the contribution of this gene in a sample of 366 trios of German descent.
To the common four markers used in previous studies, we added two new single nucleotide polymorphisms found by resequencing both the putative regulatory and coding region of the gene in randomly selected cases and controls. As linkage disequilibrium blocks of the region were not easy to define, we approached the association problem by running a transmission disequilibrium test over sliding windows of dimension 1 to 6 on consecutive markers. The significance of this test was calculated generating the empirical distribution of the global P value by simulating the data. As our study sample had a large female proband content, we also stratified our analysis by sex.
We found statistically significant association with global corrected P value of 0.036. The three-marker haplotype G/G/G spanning rs3743205/rs3743204/rs600753 was most associated with a P value of 0.006 and odds ratio 3.7 (95% confidence interval: 1.4-9.6) in female probands. A detailed haplotype-phenotype analysis revealed that the dyslexia subphenotype short-term memory contributed mainly to the observed findings. This is in accordance with a recent short-term memory-DYX1C1 association in an independent sample of dyslexia.
As significant association was proved in our sample, we could also conclude that denser maps, sex information, and well-defined subphenotypes are crucial to correctly determine the contribution of DYX1C1 to dyslexia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dyslexia is a complex disorder manifested by difficulties in learning to read and spell despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence and sociocultural opportunity. It is among the most common neurodevelopmental disorders with a prevalence of 5-12%. The dyslexia susceptibility locus 2 on chromosome 6p21-p22 is one of the best-replicated linkage regions in dyslexia. On the basis of systematic linkage disequilibrium studies, the doublecortin domain containing protein 2 gene (DCDC2) was identified as a strong candidate gene in this region. Data from a US study have suggested a complex deletion/compound short tandem repeat (STR) polymorphism in intron 2 of DCDC2 as the causative mutation. In this study, we analyzed this polymorphism in 396 German dyslexia trios which included 376 trios previously providing strong support for the DCDC2 locus. We observed no significant deviation from random transmission, neither for the deletion nor for the alleles of the compound STR. We also did not find the deletion or any of the STR alleles to be in linkage disequilibrium with the 2-marker haplotype, which was associated with dyslexia in our sample. We thus conclude that the causative variant/s in DCDC2 conferring susceptibility to dyslexia in our sample remain/s to be identified.