[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Young people whose parents have depression have a greatly increased risk of developing a psychiatric disorder, but poor outcomes are not inevitable. Identification of the contributors to mental health resilience in young people at high familial risk is an internationally recognised priority. Our objectives were to identify protective factors that predict sustained good mental health in adolescents with a parent with depression and to test whether these contribute beyond what is explained by parent illness severity.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · The Lancet Psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and disabling condition with well-established heritability and environmental risk factors. Gene-environment interaction studies in MDD have typically investigated candidate genes, though the disorder is known to be highly polygenic. This study aims to test for interaction between polygenic risk and stressful life events (SLEs) or childhood trauma (CT) in the aetiology of MDD.
The RADIANT UK sample consists of 1605 MDD cases and 1064 controls with SLE data, and a subset of 240 cases and 272 controls with CT data. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were constructed using results from a mega-analysis on MDD by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. PRS and environmental factors were tested for association with case/control status and for interaction between them.
PRS significantly predicted depression, explaining 1.1% of variance in phenotype (p = 1.9 × 10-6). SLEs and CT were also associated with MDD status (p = 2.19 × 10-4 and p = 5.12 × 10-20, respectively). No interactions were found between PRS and SLEs. Significant PRSxCT interactions were found (p = 0.002), but showed an inverse association with MDD status, as cases who experienced more severe CT tended to have a lower PRS than other cases or controls. This relationship between PRS and CT was not observed in independent replication samples.
CT is a strong risk factor for MDD but may have greater effect in individuals with lower genetic liability for the disorder. Including environmental risk along with genetics is important in studying the aetiology of MDD and PRS provide a useful approach to investigating gene-environment interactions in complex traits.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Psychological Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Affective instability (AI), childhood trauma, and mental illness are linked, but evidence in affective disorders is limited, despite both AI and childhood trauma being associated with poorer outcomes. Aims were to compare AI levels in bipolar disorder I (BPI) and II (BPII), and major depressive disorder recurrent (MDDR), and to examine the association of AI and childhood trauma within each diagnostic group.
AI, measured using the Affective Lability Scale (ALS), was compared between people with DSM-IV BPI (n=923), BPII (n=363) and MDDR (n=207) accounting for confounders and current mood. Regression modelling was used to examine the association between AI and childhood traumas in each diagnostic group.
ALS scores in descending order were BPII, BPI, MDDR, and differences between groups were significant (p<0.05). Within the BPI group any childhood abuse (p=0.021), childhood physical abuse (p=0.003) and the death of a close friend in childhood (p=0.002) were significantly associated with higher ALS score but no association was found between childhood trauma and AI in BPII and MDDR.
The ALS is a self-report scale and is subject to retrospective recall bias.
AI is an important dimension in bipolar disorder independent of current mood state. There is a strong link between childhood traumatic events and AI levels in BPI and this may be one way in which exposure and disorder are linked. Clinical interventions targeting AI in people who have suffered significant childhood trauma could potentially change the clinical course of bipolar disorder.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Affective Disorders
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lithium is the mainstay prophylactic treatment for bipolar disorder (BD), but treatment response varies considerably across individuals. Patients who respond well to lithium treatment might represent a relatively homogeneous subtype of this genetically and phenotypically diverse disorder. Here, we performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify (i) specific genetic variations influencing lithium response and (ii) genetic variants associated with risk for lithium-responsive BD. Patients with BD and controls were recruited from Sweden and the United Kingdom. GWAS were performed on 2698 patients with subjectively defined (self-reported) lithium response and 1176 patients with objectively defined (clinically documented) lithium response. We next conducted GWAS comparing lithium responders with healthy controls (1639 subjective responders and 8899 controls; 323 objective responders and 6684 controls). Meta-analyses of Swedish and UK results revealed no significant associations with lithium response within the bipolar subjects. However, when comparing lithium-responsive patients with controls, two imputed markers attained genome-wide significant associations, among which one was validated in confirmatory genotyping (rs116323614, P=2.74 × 10−8). It is an intronic single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) on chromosome 2q31.2 in the gene SEC14 and spectrin domains 1 (SESTD1), which encodes a protein involved in regulation of phospholipids. Phospholipids have been strongly implicated as lithium treatment targets. Furthermore, we estimated the proportion of variance for lithium-responsive BD explained by common variants (‘SNP heritability’) as 0.25 and 0.29 using two definitions of lithium response. Our results revealed a genetic variant in SESTD1 associated with risk for lithium-responsive BD, suggesting that the understanding of BD etiology could be furthered by focusing on this subtype of BD.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Molecular Psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Strategies to dissect phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity of major depressive disorder (MDD) have mainly relied on subphenotypes, such as age at onset (AAO) and recurrence/episodicity. Yet, evidence on whether these subphenotypes are familial or heritable is scarce. The aims of this study are to investigate the familiality of AAO and episode frequency in MDD and to assess the proportion of their variance explained by common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP heritability).
For investigating familiality, we used 691 families with 2-5 full siblings with recurrent MDD from the DeNt study. We fitted (square root) AAO and episode count in a linear and a negative binomial mixed model, respectively, with family as random effect and adjusting for sex, age and center. The strength of familiality was assessed with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). For estimating SNP heritabilities, we used 3468 unrelated MDD cases from the RADIANT and GSK Munich studies. After similarly adjusting for covariates, derived residuals were used with the GREML method in GCTA (genome-wide complex trait analysis) software.
Significant familial clustering was found for both AAO (ICC = 0.28) and episodicity (ICC = 0.07). We calculated from respective ICC estimates the maximal additive heritability of AAO (0.56) and episodicity (0.15). SNP heritability of AAO was 0.17 (p = 0.04); analysis was underpowered for calculating SNP heritability of episodicity.
AAO and episodicity aggregate in families to a moderate and small degree, respectively. AAO is under stronger additive genetic control than episodicity. Larger samples are needed to calculate the SNP heritability of episodicity. The described statistical framework could be useful in future analyses.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Psychological Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Converging evidence implicates immune abnormalities in schizophrenia (SCZ), and recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified immune-related single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with SCZ. Using the conditional false discovery rate (FDR) approach, we evaluated pleiotropy in SNPs associated with SCZ (n=21 856) and multiple sclerosis (MS) (n=43 879), an inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Because SCZ and bipolar disorder (BD) show substantial clinical and genetic overlap, we also investigated pleiotropy between BD (n=16 731) and MS. We found significant genetic overlap between SCZ and MS and identified 21 independent loci associated with SCZ, conditioned on association with MS. This enrichment was driven by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Importantly, we detected the involvement of the same human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles in both SCZ and MS, but with an opposite directionality of effect of associated HLA alleles (that is, MS risk alleles were associated with decreased SCZ risk). In contrast, we found no genetic overlap between BD and MS. Considered together, our findings demonstrate genetic pleiotropy between SCZ and MS and suggest that the MHC signals may differentiate SCZ from BD susceptibility.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Molecular Psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Previous research has suggested the clinical profile of individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) differs according to the presence or absence of comorbid migraine. We aimed to determine the clinical characteristics that differentiate individuals with BD with and without comorbid migraine in a large, representative, clinically well-characterised UK sample. Methods The lifetime clinical characteristics of 1488 individuals with BD (BPI n=1120, BPII n=368) with and without comorbid migraine were compared (n=375 vs. n=1113 respectively). Results Individuals with BD and comorbid migraine had a distinctive set of lifetime clinical characteristics. A multivariate model showed that consistent with previous studies those with comorbid migraine were significantly more likely to be female (OR=2.099, p=0.005) and have comorbid panic attacks (OR=1.842, p=0.004). A novel finding was that even after controlling for other differences, the individuals with BD and comorbid migraine were more likely to have a rapid cycling illness course (OR=1.888, p=0.002). Limitations Presence of migraine was assessed using self report measures. Cross-sectional study design limits investigations of bidirectional associations between migraine and bipolar disorder. Conclusions Comorbid migraine in BD may represent a more homogenous subtype of BD with an unstable rapid cycling course. Identifying individuals with BD and comorbid migraine may be of use in a clinical setting and this subgroup could be the focus of future aetiological studies.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Affective Disorders
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Large (>100 kb), rare (<1% in the population) copy number variants (CNVs) have been shown to confer risk for schizophrenia (SZ), but the findings for bipolar disorder (BD) are less clear. In a new BD sample from the United Kingdom (n=2591), we have examined the occurrence of CNVs and compared this with previously reported samples of 6882 SZ and 8842 control subjects. When combined with previous data, we find evidence for a contribution to BD for three SZ-associated CNV loci: duplications at 1q21.1 (P=0.022), deletions at 3q29 (P=0.03) and duplications at 16p11.2 (P=2.3 × 10(-4)). The latter survives multiple-testing correction for the number of recurrent large CNV loci in the genome. Genes in 20 regions (total of 55 genes) were enriched for rare exonic CNVs among BD cases, but none of these survives correction for multiple testing. Finally, our data provide strong support for the hypothesis of a lesser contribution of very large (>500 kb) CNVs in BD compared with SZ, most notably for deletions >1 Mb (P=9 × 10(-4)).Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 6 January 2015; doi:10.1038/mp.2014.174.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Molecular Psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of psychiatric disorders have identified multiple genetic associations with such disorders, but better methods are needed to derive the underlying biological mechanisms that these signals indicate. We sought to identify biological pathways in GWAS data from over 60,000 participants from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. We developed an analysis framework to rank pathways that requires only summary statistics. We combined this score across disorders to find common pathways across three adult psychiatric disorders: schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder. Histone methylation processes showed the strongest association, and we also found statistically significant evidence for associations with multiple immune and neuronal signaling pathways and with the postsynaptic density. Our study indicates that risk variants for psychiatric disorders aggregate in particular biological pathways and that these pathways are frequently shared between disorders. Our results confirm known mechanisms and suggest several novel insights into the etiology of psychiatric disorders.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The contribution of rare and low-frequency variants to human traits is largely unexplored. Here we describe insights from sequencing whole genomes (low read depth, 7x) or exomes (high read depth, 80x) of nearly 10,000 individuals from population-based and disease collections. In extensively phenotyped cohorts we characterize over 24 million novel sequence variants, generate a highly accurate imputation reference panel and identify novel alleles associated with levels of triglycerides (APOB), adiponectin (ADIPOQ) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLR and RGAG1) from single-marker and rare variant aggregation tests. We describe population structure and functional annotation of rare and low-frequency variants, use the data to estimate the benefits of sequencing for association studies, and summarize lessons from disease-specific collections. Finally, we make available an extensive resource, including individual-level genetic and phenotypic data and web-based tools to facilitate the exploration of association results.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bipolar disorder is one of the most common and devastating psychiatric disorders whose mechanisms remain largely unknown. Despite a strong genetic contribution demonstrated by twin and adoption studies, a polygenic background influences this multifactorial and heterogeneous psychiatric disorder. To identify susceptibility genes on a severe and more familial sub-form of the disease, we conducted a genome-wide association study focused on 211 patients of French origin with an early age at onset and 1,719 controls, and then replicated our data on a German sample of 159 patients with early-onset bipolar disorder and 998 controls. Replication study and subsequent meta-analysis revealed two genes encoding proteins involved in phosphoinositide signalling pathway (PLEKHA5 and PLCXD3). We performed additional replication studies in two datasets from the WTCCC (764 patients and 2,938 controls) and the GAIN-TGen cohorts (1,524 patients and 1,436 controls) and found nominal P-values both in the PLCXD3 and PLEKHA5 loci with the WTCCC sample. In addition, we identified in the French cohort one affected individual with a deletion at the PLCXD3 locus and another one carrying a missense variation in PLCXD3 (p.R93H), both supporting a role of the phosphatidylinositol pathway in early-onset bipolar disorder vulnerability. Although the current nominally significant findings should be interpreted with caution and need replication in independent cohorts, this study supports the strategy to combine genetic approaches to determine the molecular mechanisms underlying bipolar disorder.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An increased rate of de novo copy number variants (CNVs) has been found in schizophrenia (SZ), autism and developmental delay. An increased rate has also
been reported in bipolar affective disorder (BD). Here, in a larger BD sample, we aimed to replicate these findings and compare
de novo CNVs between SZ and BD. We used Illumina microarrays to genotype 368 BD probands, 76 SZ probands and all their parents. Copy
number variants were called by PennCNV and filtered for frequency (<1%) and size (>10 kb). Putative de novo CNVs were validated with the z-score algorithm, manual inspection of log R ratios (LRR) and qPCR probes. We found 15 de novo CNVs in BD (4.1% rate) and 6 in SZ (7.9% rate). Combining results with previous studies and using a cut-off of >100 kb, the
rate of de novo CNVs in BD was intermediate between controls and SZ: 1.5% in controls, 2.2% in BD and 4.3% in SZ. Only the differences between
SZ and BD and SZ and controls were significant. The median size of de novo CNVs in BD (448 kb) was also intermediate between SZ (613 kb) and controls (338 kb), but only the comparison between SZ and
controls was significant. Only one de novo CNV in BD was in a confirmed SZ locus (16p11.2). Sporadic or early onset cases were not more likely to have de novo CNVs. We conclude that de novo CNVs play a smaller role in BD compared with SZ. Patients with a positive family history can also harbour de novo mutations.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Human Molecular Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent years have seen considerable progress in epidemiological and molecular genetic research into environmental and genetic factors in schizophrenia, but methodological uncertainties remain with regard to validating environmental exposures, and the population risk conferred by individual molecular genetic variants is small. There are now also a limited number of studies that have investigated molecular genetic candidate gene-environment interactions (G × E), however, so far, thorough replication of findings is rare and G × E research still faces several conceptual and methodological challenges. In this article, we aim to review these recent developments and illustrate how integrated, large-scale investigations may overcome contemporary challenges in G × E research, drawing on the example of a large, international, multi-center study into the identification and translational application of G × E in schizophrenia. While such investigations are now well underway, new challenges emerge for G × E research from late-breaking evidence that genetic variation and environmental exposures are, to a significant degree, shared across a range of psychiatric disorders, with potential overlap in phenotype.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Schizophrenia Bulletin