J L Kennedy

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (234)1677.78 Total impact

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    Molecular Psychiatry 02/2015; 20(2):207-214. DOI:10.1038/mp.2013.195 · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Poor inhibitory control is associated with overeating and/or obesity in school-age children, adolescents and adults. The current study examined whether an objective and reliable marker of response inhibition, the Stop-Signal Reaction Time (SSRT), is associated with BMI z-scores and/or food intake during a snack test in pre-school children.Methods The current sample consisted of 193 pre-school children taking part in a longitudinal study of early brain development (Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment-the MAVAN project). Linear mixed-effect models were used to examine whether the SSRT measured at age 48 months associated with BMI z-scores and/or dietary intake during a laboratory-based snack test.ResultsAfter controlling for significant co-variates including maternal BMI, there was a significant gender by SSRT interaction effect in predicting 48-month BMI z-scores. Post-hoc analysis revealed an association between longer SSRTs (poor response inhibition) and higher BMIs in girls but not boys. Across both girls and boys, longer SSRTs were associated with greater intake of carbohydrates and sugars during the snack test. The association between SSRT scores and BMI z-scores in girls was not statistically mediated by carbohydrate or sugar intake.Conclusions At 48 months of age, slower response inhibition on the Stop-Signal Task associates with higher BMI-z scores in girls, and with higher intake of carbohydrates and sugars during a snack test across both genders. Ongoing follow-up of these children will help clarify the implications of these associations for longer term macronutrient intake, eating-related pathology and/or pathological weight gain over time.International Journal of Obesity accepted article preview online, 16 December 2014. doi:10.1038/ijo.2014.207.
    International journal of obesity (2005) 12/2014; DOI:10.1038/ijo.2014.207 · 5.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neurobiological research supports the characterization of disordered gambling (DG) as a behavioral addiction. Recently, an animal model of gambling behavior was developed (rat gambling task, rGT), expanding the available tools to investigate DG neurobiology. We investigated whether rGT performance and associated risk gene expression in the rat's brain could provide cross-translational understanding of the neuromolecular mechanisms of addiction in DG. We genotyped tagSNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms) in 38 addiction-related genes in 400 DG and 345 non-DG subjects. Genes with P<0.1 in the human association analyses were selected to be investigated in the animal arm to determine whether their mRNA expression in rats was associated with the rat's performance on the rGT. In humans, DG was significantly associated with tagSNPs in DRD3 (rs167771) and CAMK2D (rs3815072). Our results suggest that age and gender might moderate the association between CAMK2D and DG. Moderation effects could not be investigated due to sample power. In the animal arm, only the association between rGT performance and Drd3 expression remained significant after Bonferroni correction for 59 brain regions. As male rats were used, gender effects could not be investigated. Our results corroborate previous findings reporting the involvement of DRD3 receptor in addictions. To our knowledge, the use of human genetics, pre-clinical models and gene expression as a cross-translation paradigm has not previously been attempted in the field of addictions. The cross-validation of human findings in animal models is crucial for improving the translation of basic research into clinical treatments, which could accelerate neurobiological and pharmacological investigations in addictions.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 30 September 2014; doi:10.1038/mp.2014.113.
    Molecular Psychiatry 09/2014; DOI:10.1038/mp.2014.113 · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette's syndrome are highly heritable neurodevelopmental disorders that are thought to share genetic risk factors. However, the identification of definitive susceptibility genes for these etiologically complex disorders remains elusive. The authors report a combined genome-wide association study (GWAS) of Tourette's syndrome and OCD. Method: The authors conducted a GWAS in 2,723 cases (1,310 with OCD, 834 with Tourette's syndrome, 579 with OCD plus Tourette's syndrome/chronic tics), 5,667 ancestry-matched controls, and 290 OCD parent-child trios. GWAS summary statistics were examined for enrichment of functional variants associated with gene expression levels in brain regions. Polygenic score analyses were conducted to investigate the genetic architecture within and across the two disorders. Results: Although no individual single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) achieved genome-wide significance, the GWAS signals were enriched for SNPs strongly associated with variations in brain gene expression levels (expression quantitative loci, or eQTLs), suggesting the presence of true functional variants that contribute to risk of these disorders. Polygenic score analyses identified a significant polygenic component for OCD (p=2×10-4), predicting 3.2% of the phenotypic variance in an independent data set. In contrast, Tourette's syndrome had a smaller, nonsignificant polygenic component, predicting only 0.6% of the phenotypic variance (p=0.06). No significant polygenic signal was detected across the two disorders, although the sample is likely underpowered to detect a modest shared signal. Furthermore, the OCD polygenic signal was significantly attenuated when cases with both OCD and co-occurring Tourette's syndrome/chronic tics were included in the analysis (p=0.01). Conclusions: Previous work has shown that Tourette's syndrome and OCD have some degree of shared genetic variation. However, the data from this study suggest that there are also distinct components to the genetic architectures of these two disorders. Furthermore, OCD with co-occurring Tourette's syndrome/chronic tics may have different underlying genetic susceptibility compared with OCD alone.
    American Journal of Psychiatry 08/2014; 172(1). DOI:10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.13101306 · 13.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Weight gain and metabolic disturbances represent serious side-effects in antipsychotic (AP) treatment, particularly with clozapine and olanzapine. The methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene is a key determinant in the folate metabolism and previous studies reported a significant effect on AP-induced weight gain and related metabolic abnormalities. Thus, we investigated MTHFR gene variants and changes in several important metabolic parameters in AP-treated patients. In this study, two functional MTHFR polymorphisms, rs1801133 (C677T) and rs1801131 (A1298C), were investigated for changes in weight and metabolic parameters. Genotypic associations were evaluated in a large population (n = 347 including 66 first episode psychosis, FEP patients) treated mostly with clozapine and olanzapine. We did not detect any genotypic association with weight changes (p > 0.05) in our total sample and in the sample refined for ancestry and medication. In our allelic analyses, we observed a trend for the 677-C allele to be associated with weight gain in the total sample (p = 0.03). This effect appeared to be driven by the FEP patients where those carrying the C-allele gained, on average, twice as much weight. Exploratory analyses revealed a significant association between the C677T and the A1298C polymorphism with HDL cholesterol serum levels in patients (p = 0.031). Overall we did not detect a major effect of two functional MTHFR gene variants and AP-induced weight gain. However, our findings suggest an effect of the C677T polymorphism in FEP patients and changes in weight and cholesterol levels. Further investigations in a larger sample are required.
    Journal of Psychiatric Research 07/2014; 54. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.03.012 · 4.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background/Objectives:Melanocortins play a crucial role in appetite and weight regulation. Although the melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) gene has been repeatedly linked to obesity and antipsychotic-induced weight gain, the mechanism behind how it leads to this effect in still undetermined. The goal of this study was to conduct an in-depth and sophisticated analysis of MC4R polymorphisms, body mass index (BMI), eating behaviour, and depressed mood.Subjects/Methods:We genotyped 328 individuals of European ancestry on the following MC4R markers based on the relevant literature on obesity and antipsychotic-induced weight gain: rs571312, rs17782313, rs489693, rs11872992, and rs8087522. Height and weight were measured, and information on depressed mood and overeating behaviours was obtained during the in-person assessment.Results:BMI was associated with rs17782313 C allele; however this finding did not survive correction for multiple testing (P=0.018). Although rs17782313 was significantly associated with depressed mood and overeating behaviours, tests of indirect effects indicated that emotional eating and food cravings, rather than depressed mood, uniquely accounted for the effect of this marker and BMI (n=152).Conclusions:To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the link between MC4R rs17782313, mood and overeating behaviour, as well as to demonstrate possible mechanisms behind MC4R's influence on body weight. If replicated in a larger sample, these results may have important clinical implications, including potential for the use of MC4R agonists in the treatment of obesity and disordered eating.International Journal of Obesity accepted article preview online, 14 May 2014; doi:10.1038/ijo.2014.79.
    International journal of obesity (2005) 05/2014; 39(1). DOI:10.1038/ijo.2014.79 · 5.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pathological gambling (PG) is a heterogeneous disorder. The identification and characterization of PG subtypes could lead to tailored treatment approaches, which may, in turn, improve treatment outcomes. To investigate PG subtypes based on personality traits across two different cultural and clinical settings. Consistent with the Pathways Model, we hypothesized the presence of three subtypes (behaviorally conditioned - BC, emotionally vulnerable - EV, and antisocial impulsivist - AI). 140 PG adults from São Paulo, Brazil (SP sample) and 352 adults with PG (n=214) or sub-clinical PG (n=138) from Toronto, Canada (TO sample) completed the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). Latent-class analysis was used to investigate subtypes. A 2-class solution was the best model for the pooled SP and TO samples. Class 1 presented a normative personality profile and was composed exclusively of participants from Toronto (BC subtype). Class 2 was characterized by high novelty seeking, high harm avoidance, and low self-directedness, and included participants from both SP and TO (EV subtype). When sub-clinical PGs were excluded from the analysis, a single-class solution better characterized the SP and TO samples. Our results suggest that PG severity, rather than community or clinical settings, may have an effect on PG subtypes. The generalizability of the results is limited by the demographic and clinical features of the selected samples. Future neurobiological studies may contribute to the categorization of subjects into PG subtypes based on different underlying biological pathways.
    Addictive behaviors 03/2014; 39(7):1172-1175. DOI:10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.03.006 · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 3 anorexia nervosa genome-wide association scan includes 2907 cases from 15 different populations of European origin genotyped on the Illumina 670K chip. We compared methods for identifying population stratification, and suggest list of markers that may help to counter this problem. It is usual to identify population structure in such studies using only common variants with minor allele frequency (MAF) >5%; we find that this may result in highly informative SNPs being discarded, and suggest that instead all SNPs with MAF >1% may be used. We established informative axes of variation identified via principal component analysis and highlight important features of the genetic structure of diverse European-descent populations, some studied for the first time at this scale. Finally, we investigated the substructure within each of these 15 populations and identified SNPs that help capture hidden stratification. This work can provide information regarding the designing and interpretation of association results in the International Consortia
    European Journal of HumanGenetics 02/2014; 22(10). DOI:10.1038/ejhg.2014.1. · 4.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a complex and heritable eating disorder characterized by dangerously low body weight. Neither candidate gene studies nor an initial genome-wide association study (GWAS) have yielded significant and replicated results. We performed a GWAS in 2907 cases with AN from 14 countries (15 sites) and 14 860 ancestrally matched controls as part of the Genetic Consortium for AN (GCAN) and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 3 (WTCCC3). Individual association analyses were conducted in each stratum and meta-analyzed across all 15 discovery data sets. Seventy-six (72 independent) single nucleotide polymorphisms were taken forward for in silico (two data sets) or de novo (13 data sets) replication genotyping in 2677 independent AN cases and 8629 European ancestry controls along with 458 AN cases and 421 controls from Japan. The final global meta-analysis across discovery and replication data sets comprised 5551 AN cases and 21 080 controls. AN subtype analyses (1606 AN restricting; 1445 AN binge–purge) were performed. No findings reached genome-wide significance. Two intronic variants were suggestively associated: rs9839776 (P=3.01 × 10−7) in SOX2OT and rs17030795 (P=5.84 × 10−6) in PPP3CA. Two additional signals were specific to Europeans: rs1523921 (P=5.76 × 10−6) between CUL3 and FAM124B and rs1886797 (P=8.05 × 10−6) near SPATA13. Comparing discovery with replication results, 76% of the effects were in the same direction, an observation highly unlikely to be due to chance (P=4 × 10−6), strongly suggesting that true findings exist but our sample, the largest yet reported, was underpowered for their detection. The accrual of large genotyped AN case-control samples should be an immediate priority for the field.
    Molecular Psychiatry 02/2014; DOI:10.1038/mp.2013.187 · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prior to intervention trials in individuals genetically at-risk for late-onset Alzheimer's disease, critical first steps are identifying where (neuroanatomic effects), when (timepoint in the lifespan) and how (gene expression and neuropathology) Alzheimer's risk genes impact the brain. We hypothesized that variants in the sortilin-like receptor (SORL1) gene would affect multiple Alzheimer's phenotypes before the clinical onset of symptoms. Four independent samples were analyzed to determine effects of SORL1 genetic risk variants across the lifespan at multiple phenotypic levels: (1) microstructural integrity of white matter using diffusion tensor imaging in two healthy control samples (n=118, age 18-86; n=68, age 8-40); (2) gene expression using the Braincloud postmortem healthy control sample (n=269, age 0-92) and (3) Alzheimer's neuropathology (amyloid plaques and tau tangles) using a postmortem sample of healthy, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's individuals (n=710, age 66-108). SORL1 risk variants predicted lower white matter fractional anisotropy in an age-independent manner in fronto-temporal white matter tracts in both samples at 5% family-wise error-corrected thresholds. SORL1 risk variants also predicted decreased SORL1 mRNA expression, most prominently during childhood and adolescence, and significantly predicted increases in amyloid pathology in postmortem brain. Importantly, the effects of SORL1 variation on both white matter microstructure and gene expression were observed during neurodevelopmental phases of the human lifespan. Further, the neuropathological mechanism of risk appears to primarily involve amyloidogenic pathways. Interventions targeted toward the SORL1 amyloid risk pathway may be of greatest value during early phases of the lifespan.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 29 October 2013; doi:10.1038/mp.2013.142.
    Molecular Psychiatry 10/2013; DOI:10.1038/mp.2013.142 · 15.15 Impact Factor
  • V.F. Goncalves, J.L. Kennedy, M.A. Richter
    European Neuropsychopharmacology 10/2013; 23:S518-S519. DOI:10.1016/S0924-977X(13)70822-8 · 5.40 Impact Factor
  • Molecular Psychiatry 06/2013; DOI:10.1038/mp.2013.74 · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The neuronal glutamate transporter gene SLC1A1 is a candidate gene for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) based on linkage studies and convergent evidence implicating glutamate in OCD etiology. The 3' end of SLC1A1 is the only genomic region with consistently demonstrated OCD association, especially when analyzing male-only probands. However, specific allele associations have not been consistently replicated, and recent OCD genome-wide association and meta-analysis studies have not incorporated all previously associated SLC1A1 SNPs. To clarify the nature of association between SLC1A1 and OCD, pooled analysis was performed on all available relevant raw study data, comprising a final sample of 815 trios, 306 cases and 634 controls. This revealed weak association between OCD and one of nine tested SLC1A1 polymorphisms (rs301443; uncorrected P = 0.046; non-significant corrected P). Secondary analyses of male-affecteds only (N = 358 trios and 133 cases) demonstrated modest association between OCD and a different SNP (rs12682807; uncorrected P = 0.012; non-significant corrected P). Findings of this meta-analysis are consistent with the trend of previous candidate gene studies in psychiatry and do not clarify the putative role of SLC1A1 in OCD pathophysiology. Nonetheless, it may be important to further examine the potential associations demonstrated in this amalgamated sample, especially since the SNPs with modest associations were not included in the more highly powered recent GWAS or in a past meta-analysis including five SLC1A1 polymorphisms. This study underscores the need for much larger sample sizes in future genetic association studies and suggests that next-generation sequencing may be beneficial in examining the potential role of rare variants in OCD. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B Neuropsychiatric Genetics 04/2013; DOI:10.1002/ajmg.b.32137 · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Numerous studies have reported on pharmacogenetics of antidepressant response in depression. In contrast, little is known of response predictors in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a disorder with among the lowest proportion of responders to medication (40-60%). Our study is the largest investigation to date (N=184) of treatment response and side effects to antidepressants in OCD based on metabolizer status for CYP2D6 and CYP2C19. We observed significantly more failed medication trials in CYP2D6 non-extensive compared with extensive metabolizers (P=0.007). CYP2D6 metabolizer status was associated with side effects to venlafaxine (P=0.022). There were nonsignificant trends for association of CYP2D6 metabolizer status with response to fluoxetine (P=0.056) and of CYP2C19 metabolizer status with response to sertraline (P=0.064). Our study is the first to indicate that CYP genes may have a role in antidepressant response in OCD. More research is required for a future clinical application of genetic testing, which could lead to improved treatment outcomes.The Pharmacogenomics Journal advance online publication, 2 April 2013; doi:10.1038/tpj.2013.12.
    The Pharmacogenomics Journal 04/2013; DOI:10.1038/tpj.2013.12 · 5.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the influence of the genome-wide significant schizophrenia risk variant rs1625579 near the microRNA (miRNA)-137 (MIR137) gene on well-established sources of phenotypic variability in schizophrenia: age-at-onset of psychosis and brain structure. We found that the MIR137 risk genotype strongly predicts an earlier age-at-onset of psychosis across four independently collected samples of patients with schizophrenia (n=510; F1,506=17.7, P=3.1 × 10-5). In an imaging-genetics subsample that included additional matched controls (n=213), patients with schizophrenia who had the MIR137 risk genotype had reduced white matter integrity (F3,209=13.6, P=3.88 × 10-8) throughout the brain as well as smaller hippocampi and larger lateral ventricles; the brain structure of patients who were carriers of the protective allele was no different from healthy control subjects on these neuroimaging measures. Our findings suggest that MIR137 substantially influences variation in phenotypes that are thought to have an important role in clinical outcome and treatment response. Finally, the possible consequences of genetic risk factors may be distinct in patients with schizophrenia compared with healthy controls.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 5 March 2013; doi:10.1038/mp.2013.17.
    Molecular Psychiatry 03/2013; DOI:10.1038/mp.2013.17 · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several studies have examined whether ethnicity as an independent factor can influence the individual's dosage of antipsychotics. However, there has been inconsistency in the results of these studies, particularly between white and non-white populations. This retrospective study tests the hypothesis of different dosing of antipsychotics in white Europeans vs. non-white Europeans considering both the self-reported ethnicity and the geographical ancestry calculated using 196 DNA markers.We collected self-reported ethnicity and DNA samples from 209 schizophrenia patients. We tested the association between self-reported and genetically-determined ethnicity with the chlorpromazine equivalent dose of each antipsychotic prescribed at the time of the assessment.We did not find any significant difference between self-reported white European -ethnicity and chlorpromazine equivalent doses (p=0.972). Furthermore, when we considered the geographical ancestry determined by the 196 SNPs, we could not find any correlation between the European ancestry and chlorpromazine equivalent dose.Our preliminary analysis shows that there is no evidence that different ethnic groups receive different dose of antipsychotics.
    Pharmacopsychiatry 01/2013; 46(4). DOI:10.1055/s-0032-1333236 · 2.17 Impact Factor
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    The Lancet 01/2013; 381(9875):1371-1379. · 39.21 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

7k Citations
1,677.78 Total Impact Points


  • 1993–2014
    • University of Toronto
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • University of British Columbia - Vancouver
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2000–2013
    • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • University of Ottawa
      • Department of Pediatrics
      Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 2007
    • University of Naples Federico II
      Napoli, Campania, Italy
    • Oxon Epidemiology
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2001
    • Medical Neurogenetics
      Atlanta, Georgia, United States
    • Toronto Western Hospital
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 1999
    • University of Bonn
      • Institute of Human Genetics
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 1998
    • Johns Hopkins University
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 1996
    • University of California, Irvine
      • Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
      Irvine, CA, United States
  • 1988–1992
    • Yale University
      • Department of Psychiatry
      New Haven, Connecticut, United States
  • 1991
    • Yale-New Haven Hospital
      New Haven, Connecticut, United States