[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endophentoypes, quantifiable traits lying on the causal chain between a clinical phenotype and etiology, can be used to accelerate genomic discovery in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Here we identify the neuroanatomic changes that are shared by 22 OCD adult and adolescent patients and 25 of their unaffected siblings who are at genetic risk for the disorder. Comparisons were made against 47 age and sex matched healthy controls. We defined the surface morphology of the striatum, globus pallidus and thalamus, and thickness of the cerebral cortex. Patients with OCD show significant surface expansion compared with healthy controls, following adjustment for multiple comparisons, in interconnected regions of the caudate, thalamus and right orbitofrontal cortex. Their unaffected siblings show similar, significant expansion, most marked in the ventromedial caudate bilaterally, the right pulvinar thalamic nucleus and the right orbitofrontal cortex. These regions define a network that has been consistently implicated in OCD. In addition, both patients with OCD and unaffected siblings showed similar increased thickness of the right precuneus, which receives rich input from the thalamic pulvinar nuclei and the left medial temporal cortex. Anatomic change within the orbitofrontostriatal and posterior brain circuitry thus emerges as a promising endophenotype for OCD.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 11 February 2014; doi:10.1038/mp.2014.3.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Copy number variants (CNVs) are risk factors in neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, epilepsy, intellectual disability (ID) and schizophrenia. Childhood onset schizophrenia (COS), defined as onset before the age of 13 years, is a rare and severe form of the disorder, with more striking array of prepsychotic developmental disorders and abnormalities in brain development. Because of the well-known phenotypic variability associated with pathogenic CNVs, we conducted whole genome genotyping to detect CNVs and then focused on a group of 46 rare CNVs that had well-documented risk for adult onset schizophrenia (AOS), autism, epilepsy and/or ID. We evaluated 126 COS probands, 69 of which also had a healthy full sibling. When COS probands were compared with their matched related controls, significantly more affected individuals carried disease-related CNVs (P=0.017). Moreover, COS probands showed a higher rate than that found in AOS probands (P<0.0001). A total of 15 (11.9%) subjects exhibited at least one such CNV and four of these subjects (26.7%) had two. Five of 15 (4.0% of the sample) had a 2.5-3 Mb deletion mapping to 22q11.2, a rate higher than that reported for adult onset (0.3-1%) (P<0.001) or autism spectrum disorder and, indeed, the highest rate reported for any clinical population to date. For one COS subject, a duplication found at 22q13.3 had previously only been associated with autism, and for four patients CNVs at 8q11.2, 10q22.3, 16p11.2 and 17q21.3 had only previously been associated with ID. Taken together, these findings support the well-known pleiotropic effects of these CNVs suggesting shared abnormalities early in brain development. Clinically, broad CNV-based population screening is needed to assess their overall clinical burden.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 21 May 2013; doi:10.1038/mp.2013.59.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DUF1220 domains show the largest human-lineage-specific increase in copy number of any protein-coding region in the human genome and map primarily to 1q21, where deletions and reciprocal duplications have been associated with microcephaly and macrocephaly, respectively. Given these findings and the high correlation between DUF1220 copy number and brain size across primate lineages (R(2) = 0.98; p = 1.8 × 10(-6)), DUF1220 sequences represent plausible candidates for underlying 1q21-associated brain-size pathologies. To investigate this possibility, we used specialized bioinformatics tools developed for scoring highly duplicated DUF1220 sequences to implement targeted 1q21 array comparative genomic hybridization on individuals (n = 42) with 1q21-associated microcephaly and macrocephaly. We show that of all the 1q21 genes examined (n = 53), DUF1220 copy number shows the strongest association with brain size among individuals with 1q21-associated microcephaly, particularly with respect to the three evolutionarily conserved DUF1220 clades CON1(p = 0.0079), CON2 (p = 0.0134), and CON3 (p = 0.0116). Interestingly, all 1q21 DUF1220-encoding genes belonging to the NBPF family show significant correlations with frontal-occipital-circumference Z scores in the deletion group. In a similar survey of a nondisease population, we show that DUF1220 copy number exhibits the strongest correlation with brain gray-matter volume (CON1, p = 0.0246; and CON2, p = 0.0334). Notably, only DUF1220 sequences are consistently significant in both disease and nondisease populations. Taken together, these data strongly implicate the loss of DUF1220 copy number in the etiology of 1q21-associated microcephaly and support the view that DUF1220 domains function as general effectors of evolutionary, pathological, and normal variation in brain size.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 08/2012; 91(3):444-54. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia, which posits that the illness is the end state of abnormal neurodevelopmental processes that started years before the illness onset, is widely accepted, and has long been dominant for childhood-onset neuropsychiatric disorders. This selective review updates our 2005 review of recent studies that have impacted, or have the greatest potential to modify or extend, the neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia. Longitudinal whole-population studies support a dimensional, rather than categorical, concept of psychosis. New studies suggest that placental pathology could be a key measure in future prenatal high-risk studies. Both common and rare genetic variants have proved surprisingly diagnostically nonspecific, and copy number variants (CNVs) associated with schizophrenia are often also associated with autism, epilepsy and intellectual deficiency. Large post-mortem gene expression studies and prospective developmental multi-modal brain imaging studies are providing critical data for future clinical and high-risk developmental brain studies. Whether there can be greater molecular specificity for phenotypic characterization is a subject of current intense study and debate, as is the possibility of neuronal phenotyping using human pluripotent-inducible stem cells. Biological nonspecificity, such as in timing or nature of early brain development, carries the possibility of new targets for broad preventive treatments.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 10 April 2012; doi:10.1038/mp.2012.23.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) pathway was originally discovered by virtue of its ability to rapidly degrade aberrant mRNAs with premature termination codons. More recently, it was shown that NMD also directly regulates subsets of normal transcripts, suggesting that NMD has roles in normal biological processes. Indeed, several NMD factors have been shown to regulate neurological events (for example, neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity) in numerous vertebrate species. In man, mutations in the NMD factor gene UPF3B, which disrupts a branch of the NMD pathway, cause various forms of intellectual disability (ID). Using Epstein Barr virus-immortalized B cells, also known as lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs), from ID patients that have loss-of-function mutations in UPF3B, we investigated the genome-wide consequences of compromised NMD and the role of NMD in neuronal development and function. We found that ∼5% of the human transcriptome is impacted in UPF3B patients. The UPF3B paralog, UPF3A, is stabilized in all UPF3B patients, and partially compensates for the loss of UPF3B function. Interestingly, UPF3A protein, but not mRNA, was stabilised in a quantitative manner that inversely correlated with the severity of patients' phenotype. This suggested that the ability to stabilize the UPF3A protein is a crucial modifier of the neurological symptoms due to loss of UPF3B. We also identified ARHGAP24, which encodes a GTPase-activating protein, as a canonical target of NMD, and we provide evidence that deregulation of this gene inhibits axon and dendrite outgrowth and branching. Our results demonstrate that the UPF3B-dependent NMD pathway is a major regulator of the transcriptome and that its targets have important roles in neuronal cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pharmacological, genetic and expression studies implicate N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor hypofunction in schizophrenia (SCZ). Similarly, several lines of evidence suggest that autism spectrum disorders (ASD) could be due to an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission. As part of a project aimed at exploring rare and/or de novo mutations in neurodevelopmental disorders, we have sequenced the seven genes encoding for NMDA receptor subunits (NMDARs) in a large cohort of individuals affected with SCZ or ASD (n=429 and 428, respectively), parents of these subjects and controls (n=568). Here, we identified two de novo mutations in patients with sporadic SCZ in GRIN2A and one de novo mutation in GRIN2B in a patient with ASD. Truncating mutations in GRIN2C, GRIN3A and GRIN3B were identified in both subjects and controls, but no truncating mutations were found in the GRIN1, GRIN2A, GRIN2B and GRIN2D genes, both in patients and controls, suggesting that these subunits are critical for neurodevelopment. The present results support the hypothesis that rare de novo mutations in GRIN2A or GRIN2B can be associated with cases of sporadic SCZ or ASD, just as it has recently been described for the related neurodevelopmental disease intellectual disability. The influence of genetic variants appears different, depending on NMDAR subunits. Functional compensation could occur to counteract the loss of one allele in GRIN2C and GRIN3 family genes, whereas GRIN1, GRIN2A, GRIN2B and GRIN2D appear instrumental to normal brain development and function.Keywords: autism; mutation; NMDA; schizophrenia
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disrupted-in-schizophrenia-1 (DISC1), contains two common non-synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)--Leu607Phe and Ser704Cys--that modulate (i) facets of DISC1 molecular functioning important for cortical development, (ii) fronto-temporal cortical anatomy in adults and (iii) risk for diverse psychiatric phenotypes that often emerge during childhood and adolescence, and are associated with altered fronto-temporal cortical development. It remains unknown, however, if Leu607Phe and Ser704Cys influence cortical maturation before adulthood, and whether each SNP shows unique or overlapping effects. Therefore, we related genotype at Leu607Phe and Ser704Cys to cortical thickness (CT) in 255 typically developing individuals aged 9-22 years on whom 598 magnetic resonance imaging brain scans had been acquired longitudinally. Rate of cortical thinning varied with DISC1 genotype. Specifically, the rate of cortical thinning was attenuated in Phe-carrier compared with Leu-homozygous groups (in bilateral superior frontal and left angular gyri) and accelerated in Ser-homozygous compared with Cys-carrier groups (in left anterior cingulate and temporal cortices). Both SNPs additively predicted fixed differences in right lateral temporal CT, which were maximal between Phe-carrier/Ser-homozygous (thinnest) vs Leu-homozygous/Cys-carrier (thickest) groups. Leu607Phe and Ser704Cys genotype interacted to predict the rate of cortical thinning in right orbitofrontal, middle temporal and superior parietal cortices, wherein a significantly reduced rate of CT loss was observed in Phe-carrier/Cys-carrier participants only. Our findings argue for further examination of Leu607Phe and Ser704Cys interactions at a molecular level, and suggest that these SNPs might operate (in concert with other genetic and environmental factors) to shape risk for diverse phenotypes by impacting on the early maturation of fronto-temporal cortices.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The age at which a parent has a child impacts the child's cognition and risk for mental illness. It appears that this risk is curvilinear, with both age extremes associated with lower intelligence and increased prevalence of some neuropsychiatric disorders. Little is known of the neural mechanisms underpinning this phenomenon. We extracted lobar volumes, surface areas, and cortical thickness from 489 neuroanatomic magnetic resonance images acquired on 171 youth. Using linear mixed model regression, we determined the association between parental age and offspring's neuroanatomy, adjusting for offspring's age, sex, intelligence, and parental socioeconomic class. For gray matter volumes, quadratic paternal and maternal age terms contributed significantly (maternal quadratic age effect: t = -2.2, P = 0.03; paternal quadratic age effect: t = -2.4, P = 0.02) delineating an inverted "U" relationship between parental age and gray matter volume. Cortical volume increased with both advancing paternal and maternal age until around the early 30s after which it fell. Paternal age effects were more pronounced on cortical surface area, whereas maternal age impacted more on cortical thickness. There were no significant effects of parental age on white matter volumes. These parental age effects on cerebral morphology may form part of the link between parental age extremes and suboptimal neurocognitive outcomes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia (SCZ) are two common neurodevelopmental syndromes that result from the combined effects of environmental and genetic factors. We set out to test the hypothesis that rare variants in many different genes, including de novo variants, could predispose to these conditions in a fraction of cases. In addition, for both disorders, males are either more significantly or more severely affected than females, which may be explained in part by X-linked genetic factors. Therefore, we directly sequenced 111 X-linked synaptic genes in individuals with ASD (n = 142; 122 males and 20 females) or SCZ (n = 143; 95 males and 48 females). We identified >200 non-synonymous variants, with an excess of rare damaging variants, which suggest the presence of disease-causing mutations. Truncating mutations in genes encoding the calcium-related protein IL1RAPL1 (already described in Piton et al. Hum Mol Genet 2008) and the monoamine degradation enzyme monoamine oxidase B were found in ASD and SCZ, respectively. Moreover, several promising non-synonymous rare variants were identified in genes encoding proteins involved in regulation of neurite outgrowth and other various synaptic functions (MECP2, TM4SF2/TSPAN7, PPP1R3F, PSMD10, MCF2, SLITRK2, GPRASP2, and OPHN1).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recurrent microdeletions and microduplications of a 600-kb genomic region of chromosome 16p11.2 have been implicated in childhood-onset developmental disorders. We report the association of 16p11.2 microduplications with schizophrenia in two large cohorts. The microduplication was detected in 12/1,906 (0.63%) cases and 1/3,971 (0.03%) controls (P = 1.2 x 10(-5), OR = 25.8) from the initial cohort, and in 9/2,645 (0.34%) cases and 1/2,420 (0.04%) controls (P = 0.022, OR = 8.3) of the replication cohort. The 16p11.2 microduplication was associated with a 14.5-fold increased risk of schizophrenia (95% CI (3.3, 62)) in the combined sample. A meta-analysis of datasets for multiple psychiatric disorders showed a significant association of the microduplication with schizophrenia (P = 4.8 x 10(-7)), bipolar disorder (P = 0.017) and autism (P = 1.9 x 10(-7)). In contrast, the reciprocal microdeletion was associated only with autism and developmental disorders (P = 2.3 x 10(-13)). Head circumference was larger in patients with the microdeletion than in patients with the microduplication (P = 0.0007).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The past 50 years have seen dramatic changes in childhood psychopathology research. The goal of this overview is to contrast observational and experimental research approaches; both have grown more complex such that the boundary between these approaches may be blurred. Both are essential. Landmark observational studies with long-term follow-up (Robins, 1966; Yarrow, Campbell, & Burton, 1970) have had - and continue to have - unique impact on clinical research and practice. Epidemiological studies showed high rates of psychological disorder and their close tie to neurological impairment (Rutter, Tizard, & Whitemore, 1970). These studies have current impact with respect to brain imaging correlates of clinical outcome. Pharmacological studies, particularly those on stimulants and on treatment of pediatric obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), have propelled experimental methodology and inspired translational approaches. Predicted future trends are: more informed subgrouping of our heterogeneous phenotypes, reliance on multicenter trials, and documentation of non-conventional methods of care delivery.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 12/2008; 50(1-2):36-43. · 5.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is controversy over the nature of the disturbance in brain development that underpins attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In particular, it is unclear whether the disorder results from a delay in brain maturation or whether it represents a complete deviation from the template of typical development. Using computational neuroanatomic techniques, we estimated cortical thickness at >40,000 cerebral points from 824 magnetic resonance scans acquired prospectively on 223 children with ADHD and 223 typically developing controls. With this sample size, we could define the growth trajectory of each cortical point, delineating a phase of childhood increase followed by adolescent decrease in cortical thickness (a quadratic growth model). From these trajectories, the age of attaining peak cortical thickness was derived and used as an index of cortical maturation. We found maturation to progress in a similar manner regionally in both children with and without ADHD, with primary sensory areas attaining peak cortical thickness before polymodal, high-order association areas. However, there was a marked delay in ADHD in attaining peak thickness throughout most of the cerebrum: the median age by which 50% of the cortical points attained peak thickness for this group was 10.5 years (SE 0.01), which was significantly later than the median age of 7.5 years (SE 0.02) for typically developing controls (log rank test chi(1)(2) = 5,609, P < 1.0 x 10(-20)). The delay was most prominent in prefrontal regions important for control of cognitive processes including attention and motor planning. Neuroanatomic documentation of a delay in regional cortical maturation in ADHD has not been previously reported.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2007; 104(49):19649-54. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polymorphisms of the dopamine receptor D4 gene DRD4, 11p15.5, have previously been associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) [Bobb et al., 2005; Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 132:109-125; Faraone et al., 2005; Biol Psychiatry 57:1313-1323; Thapar et al., 2005; Hum Mol Genet 14 Spec No. 2:R275-R282]. As a follow up to a pilot study [see Castellanos et al., 1998; Mol Psychiatry 3:431-434] consisting of 41 probands and 56 controls which found no significant association between the DRD4 7-repeat allele in exon 3 and ADHD, a greatly expanded study sample (cases n = 166 and controls n = 282) and long term follow-up (n = 107, baseline mean age n = 9, follow-up mean age of n = 15) prompted reexamination of this gene. The DRD4 7-repeat allele was significantly more frequent in ADHD cases than controls (OR = 1.2; P = 0.028). Further, within the ADHD group, the 7-repeat allele was associated with better cognitive performance (measured by the WISC-III) (P = 0.013-0.07) as well as a trend for association with better long-term outcome. This provides further evidence of the role of the DRD4 7-repeat allele in the etiology of ADHD and suggests that this allele may be associated with a more benign form of the disorder.
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B Neuropsychiatric Genetics 05/2007; 144B(3):379-82. · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Childhood-onset schizophrenia (COS), defined as onset of psychosis by the age of 12, is a rare and malignant form of the illness, which may have more salient genetic influence. Since the initial report of association between neuregulin 1 (NRG1) and schizophrenia in 2002, numerous independent replications have been reported. In the current study, we genotyped 56 markers (54 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and two microsatellites) spanning the NRG1 locus on 78 COS patients and their parents. We used family-based association analysis for both diagnostic (extended transmission disequilibrium test) and quantitative phenotypes (quantitative transmission disequilibrium test) and mixed-model regression. Most subjects had prospective anatomic brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans at 2-year intervals. Further, we genotyped a sample of 165 healthy controls in the MRI study to examine genetic risk effects on normal brain development. Individual markers showed overtransmission of alleles to affecteds (P=0.009-0.05). Further, several novel four-marker haplotypes demonstrated significant transmission distortion. There was no evidence of epistasis with SNPs in erbB4. The risk allele (0) at 420M9-1395 was associated with poorer premorbid social functioning. Further, possession of the risk allele was associated with different trajectories of change in lobar volumes. In the COS group, risk allele carriers had greater total gray and white matter volume in childhood and a steeper rate of subsequent decline in volume into adolescence. By contrast, in healthy children, possession of the risk allele was associated with different trajectories in gray matter only and was confined to frontotemporal regions, reflecting epistatic or other illness-specific effects mediating NRG1 influence on brain development in COS. This replication further documents the role of NRG1 in the abnormal brain development in schizophrenia. This is the first demonstration of a disease-specific pattern of gene action in schizophrenia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder affecting approximately 1% of the world's population. Although the aetiology of schizophrenia is complex and multifactorial, with estimated heritabilities as high as 80%, genetic factors are the most compelling. Childhood-onset schizophrenia (COS), defined as onset of schizophrenia before the age of 13 years, is a rare and malignant form of the illness that may have more salient genetic influence. The first known case of paternal segmental uniparental isodisomy (iUPD) on 5q32-qter in a patient with COS is described, which adds to the previously known high rates of chromosomal abnormalities reported in this sample. iUPD is a rare genetic condition in which the offspring receives two chromosomal homologues from one parent. Segmental UPD is defined as UPD on a portion of a chromosome with biparental inheritance seen in the rest of the homologous pair. Complications owing to this abnormality may arise from malfunctioning imprinted genes or homozygosity of recessive disease-causing mutations. This aberration became apparent during whole-genomic screening of a COS cohort and is of particular interest because 5q has been implicated in schizophrenia by several genomewide linkage studies and positive gene associations. This report, therefore, presents more evidence that schizophrenia susceptibility gene, or genes, may be found on distal 5q.
Journal of Medical Genetics 12/2006; 43(11):887-92. · 5.70 Impact Factor