[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA methylome alterations in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) may contribute to risk for alcohol use disorders (AUDs). We examined postmortem PFC DNA methylomes of 16 male and seven female pairs of AUD and control subjects using Illumina’s HumanMethylation450 BeadChip assays. In male AUD subjects, 1,812 CpGs (1,099 genes) were differentially methylated (9.5 × 10−9 ≤ Pnominal ≤ 7.2 × 10−4, q < 0.05). In females, no CpGs were associated with AUDs after multiple testing correction (q > 0.05). Twenty-one AUD-associated co-methylation modules were identified in males by co-methylation analysis. The 1,812 CpGs were over-presented by two AUD-associated co-methylation modules (Mturquoise: 1,048 CpGs/683 genes; Mblue: 429 CpGs/304 genes) (Phyper ≤ 0.001). Biological processes enriched for genes in these two modules included neural development and transcriptional regulation. Genes mapped by CpGs in these two modules were enriched in genome-wide association study-identified genes with variants associated with four substance dependence phenotypes or five psychiatric disorders. Additionally, 106 of the 1,812 CpGs were mapped to 93 genes (e.g., AUD-associated genes GRIK3, GRIN2C, and GABRA1) with differential expression in postmortem PFC of male AUD subjects. Our study demonstrates that DNA methylation alterations in the PFC are associated with (and might result in) increased risk of AUDs, and there was a complex DNA methylation-gene expression relationship.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Individuals with a history of child abuse are at high risk for depression, anxiety disorders, aggressive behavior, and substance use problems. The goal of this paper is to review studies of the genetics of these stress-related psychiatric disorders. An informative subset of studies that examined candidate gene by environment (GxE) predictors of these psychiatric problems in individuals maltreated as children is reviewed, together with extant genome wide association studies (GWAS). Emerging findings on epigenetic changes associated with adverse early experiences are also reviewed. Meta-analytic support and replicated findings are evident for several genetic risk factors; however, extant research suggests the effects are pleiotropic. Genetic factors are not associated with distinct psychiatric disorders, but rather diverse clinical phenotypes. Research also suggests adverse early life experiences are associated with changes in gene expression of multiple known candidate genes, genes involved in DNA transcription and translation, and genes necessary for brain circuitry development, with changes in gene expression reported in key brain structures implicated in the pathophysiology of psychiatric and substance use disorders. The finding of pleiotropy highlights the value of using the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) framework in future studies of the genetics of stress-related psychiatric disorders, and not trying simply to link genes to multifaceted clinical syndromes, but to more limited phenotypes that map onto distinct neural circuits. Emerging work in the field of epigenetics also suggests that translational studies that integrate numerous unbiased genome-wide approaches will help to further unravel the genetics of stress-related psychiatric disorders.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B Neuropsychiatric Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Outcomes related to disordered metabolism are common in alcohol dependence (AD). To investigate alterations in the regulation of body mass that occur in the context of AD, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of body mass index (BMI) in African Americans (AAs) and European Americans (EAs) with AD. Subjects were recruited for genetic studies of AD or drug dependence and evaluated using the Semi-structured Assessment for Drug Dependence and Alcoholism. We investigated a total of 2587 AAs and 2959 EAs with DSM-IV AD diagnosis. In the stage 1 sample (N = 4137), we observed three genome-wide significant (GWS) single-nucleotide polymorphism associations, rs200889048 (P = 8.98 * 10(-12) ) and rs12490016 (P = 1.44 * 10(-8) ) in EAs and rs1630623 (P = 5.14 * 10(-9) ) in AAs and EAs meta-analyzed. In the stage 2 sample (N = 1409), we replicated 278, 253 and 168 of the stage 1 suggestive loci (P < 5*10(-4) ) in AAs, EAs, and AAs and EAs meta-analyzed, respectively. A meta-analysis of stage 1 and stage 2 samples (N = 5546) identified two additional GWS signals: rs28562191 in EAs (P = 4.46 * 10(-8) ) and rs56950471 in AAs (P = 1.57 * 10(-9) ). Three of the GWS loci identified (rs200889048, rs12490016 and rs1630623) were not previously reported by GWAS of BMI in the general population, and two of them raise interesting hypotheses: rs12490016-a regulatory variant located within LINC00880, where there are other GWAS-identified variants associated with birth size, adiposity in newborns and bulimia symptoms, which also interact with social stress in relation to birth size; rs1630623-a regulatory variant related to ALDH1A1, a gene involved in alcohol metabolism and adipocyte plasticity. These loci offer molecular insights regarding the regulatory mechanisms of body mass in the context of AD.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Addiction Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mu1 opioid receptor gene, OPRM1, has long been a high-priority candidate for human genetic studies of addiction. Because of its potential functional significance, the non-synonymous variant rs1799971 (A118G, Asn40Asp) in OPRM1 has been extensively studied, yet its role in addiction has remained unclear, with conflicting association findings. To resolve the question of what effect, if any, rs1799971 has on substance dependence risk, we conducted collaborative meta-analyses of 25 datasets with over 28,000 European-ancestry subjects. We investigated non-specific risk for "general" substance dependence, comparing cases dependent on any substance to controls who were non-dependent on all assessed substances. We also examined five specific substance dependence diagnoses: DSM-IV alcohol, opioid, cannabis, and cocaine dependence, and nicotine dependence defined by the proxy of heavy/light smoking (cigarettes-per-day >20 vs. ≤10). The G allele showed a modest protective effect on general substance dependence (OR = 0.90, 95 % C.I. [0.83-0.97], p value = 0.0095, N = 16,908). We observed similar effects for each individual substance, although these were not statistically significant, likely because of reduced sample sizes. We conclude that rs1799971 contributes to mechanisms of addiction liability that are shared across different addictive substances. This project highlights the benefits of examining addictive behaviors collectively and the power of collaborative data sharing and meta-analyses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although some existing epidemiological observations and molecular experiments suggested that brain disorders in the realm of psychiatry may be influenced by immune dysregulation, the degree of genetic overlap between psychiatric disorders and immune disorders has not been well established. We investigated this issue by integrative analysis of genome-wide association studies of 18 complex human traits/diseases (five psychiatric disorders, seven immune disorders, and others) and multiple genome-wide annotation resources (central nervous system genes, immune-related expression-quantitative trait loci (eQTL) and DNase I hypertensive sites from 98 cell lines). We detected pleiotropy in 24 of the 35 psychiatric-immune disorder pairs. The strongest pleiotropy was observed for schizophrenia-rheumatoid arthritis with MHC region included in the analysis ([Formula: see text]), and schizophrenia-Crohn's disease with MHC region excluded ([Formula: see text]). Significant enrichment (>1.4 fold) of immune-related eQTL was observed in four psychiatric disorders. Genomic regions responsible for pleiotropy between psychiatric disorders and immune disorders were detected. The MHC region on chromosome 6 appears to be the most important with other regions, such as cytoband 1p13.2, also playing significant roles in pleiotropy. We also found that most alleles shared between schizophrenia and Crohn's disease have the same effect direction, with similar trend found for other disorder pairs, such as bipolar-Crohn's disease. Our results offer a novel bird's-eye view of the genetic relationship and demonstrate strong evidence for pervasive pleiotropy between psychiatric disorders and immune disorders. Our findings might open new routes for prevention and treatment strategies for these disorders based on a new appreciation of the importance of immunological mechanisms in mediating risk of many psychiatric diseases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alcohol dependence (AD) is among the most common and costly public health problems contributing to morbidity and mortality throughout the world. In this study, we investigate the genetic basis of AD in a Dutch population using data from the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) and the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). The presence of AD was ascertained via the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) applying cut-offs with good specificity and sensitivity in identifying those at risk for AD. Twin-based heritability of AD-AUDIT was estimated using structural equation modeling of data in 7,694 MZ and DZ twin pairs. Variance in AD-AUDIT explained by all SNPs was estimated with genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA). A genome-wide association study (GWAS) was performed in 7,842 subjects. GWAS SNP effect concordance analysis was performed between our GWAS and a recent AD GWAS using DSM-IV diagnosis. The twin-based heritability of AD-AUDIT was estimated at 60% (55–69%). GCTA showed that common SNPs jointly capture 33% (SE = 0.12, P = 0.002) of this heritability. In the GWAS, the top hits were positioned within four regions (4q31.1, 2p16.1, 6q25.1, 7p14.1) with the strongest association detected for rs55768019 (P = 7.58 × 10−7). This first GWAS of AD using the AUDIT measure found results consistent with previous genetic studies using DSM diagnosis: concordance in heritability estimates and direction of SNPs effect and overlap with top hits from previous GWAS. Thus, the use of appropriate questionnaires may represent cost-effective strategies to phenotype samples in large-scale biobanks or other population-based datasets.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B Neuropsychiatric Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic alcohol consumption may result in sustained gene expression alterations in the brain, leading to alcohol abuse or dependence. Because of ethical concerns of using live human brain cells in research, this hypothesis cannot be tested directly in live human brains. In the present study, we used human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived cortical neurons as in vitro cellular models to investigate alcohol-induced expression changes of genes involved in alcohol metabolism (ALDH2), anti-apoptosis (BCL2 and CCND2), neurotransmission (NMDA receptor subunit genes: GRIN1, GRIN2A, GRIN2B, and GRIN2D), calcium channel activity (ITPR2), or transcriptional repression (JARID2). hESCs were differentiated into cortical neurons, which were characterized by immunostaining using antibodies against cortical neuron-specific biomarkers. Ethanol-induced gene expression changes were determined by reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). After a 7-day ethanol (50 mM) exposure followed by a 24-hour ethanol withdrawal treatment, five of the above nine genes (including all four NMDA receptor subunit genes) were highly upregulated (GRIN1: 1.93-fold, P = 0.003; GRIN2A: 1.40-fold, P = 0.003; GRIN2B: 1.75-fold, P = 0.002; GRIN2D: 1.86-fold, P = 0.048; BCL2: 1.34-fold, P = 0.031), and the results of GRIN1, GRIN2A, and GRIN2B survived multiple comparison correction. Our findings suggest that alcohol responsive genes, particularly NMDA receptor genes, play an important role in regulating neuronal function and mediating chronic alcohol consumption-induced neuroadaptations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To understand the role of ancestral genomic background in substance dependence (SD) genome-wide association studies (GWAS), we analyzed population diversity at genetic loci associated with SD traits and evaluated its effect on GWAS outcomes.
We investigated 24 genes with variants associated with SD by GWAS; and 82 loci with putative subordinate roles with respect to SD-associated genes.
We observed high ancestry-related frequency differences in common functional alleles in GWAS relevant genes and their interactive partners. Common functional alleles with high frequency differences demonstrated significant effects on the GWAS outcomes.
Population differences in SD GWAS outcomes seem not to be influenced by general variation across the genome, but by ancestry-related local haplotype structures at SD-associated loci.
No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Pharmacogenomics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genomewide association studies have implicated the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 gene cluster in risk for heavy smoking and several smoking-related disorders. The heavy smoking risk allele might reduce the aversive effects of nicotine, but this hypothesis has not been tested in humans. We evaluated the effects of a candidate causal variant in CHRNA5, rs16969968, on the acute response to nicotine in European American (EA) and African American (AA) smokers (n=192; 50% AA; 73% male). Following overnight abstinence from nicotine, participants completed a paradigm that included an intravenous (IV) dose of saline and two escalating IV doses of nicotine. The outcomes evaluated were the aversive, pleasurable, and stimulatory ratings of nicotine's effects, cardiovascular reactivity to nicotine, withdrawal severity, and cognitive performance before and after the nicotine administration session. The heavy smoking risk allele (rs16969968*A; frequency=28%[EA] and 6%[AA]) was associated with lower ratings of aversive effects (P<5 × 10(-8)) with marked specificity. This effect was evident in EA and AA subjects analyzed as separate groups and was most robust at the highest nicotine dose. Rs16969968*A was also associated with greater improvement on a measure of cognitive control (Stroop Task) following nicotine administration. These findings support differential aversive response to nicotine as one likely mechanism for the associate of CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 with heavy smoking.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 07 May 2015. doi:10.1038/npp.2015.131.
No preview · Article · May 2015 · Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
We conducted a genomewide association study (GWAS) for maximum number of alcoholic drinks consumed in a 24-hour period (“MaxDrinks”), in 2 independent samples comprised of over 9,500 subjects, following up on our GWAS for alcohol dependence (AD) in European Americans (EAs) and African Americans (AAs).Methods
The samples included our GWAS samples (Yale-UPenn) recruited for studies of the genetics of drug or AD, and a publicly available sample: the Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment (SAGE). Genomewide association analysis was performed for ~890,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) using linear association random effects models. EAs and AAs were separately analyzed.ResultsThe results confirmed significant associations of the well-known functional loci at ADH1B with MaxDrinks in EAs (rs1229984 Arg48His p = 5.96 × 10−15) and AAs (rs2066702 Arg370Cys, p = 2.50 × 10−10). The region of significant association on chromosome 4 was extended to LOC100507053 in AAs but not EAs. We also identified potentially novel significant common SNPs for MaxDrinks in EAs in the Yale-UPenn sample: rs1799876 at SERPINC1 on chromosome 1 (4.00 × 10−8) and rs2309169 close to ANKRD36 on chromosome 2 (p = 5.58 × 10−9). After adjusting for the peak SNP rs1229984 on ADH1B, rs1799876 was nearly significant (p = 1.99 × 10−7) and rs2309169 remained highly significant (2.12 × 10−9).Conclusions
The results provide further support that ADH1B modulates alcohol consumption. Future replications of potential novel loci are warranted. This is the largest MaxDrinks GWAS to date, the first in AAs.
No preview · Article · May 2015 · Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In archival samples of European-ancestry subjects, light-eyed individuals have been found to consume more alcohol than dark-eyed individuals. No published population-based studies have directly tested the association between alcohol dependence (AD) and eye color. We hypothesized that light-eyed individuals have a higher prevalence of AD than dark-eyed individuals. A mixture model was used to select a homogeneous sample of 1,263 European-Americans and control for population stratification. After quality control, we conducted an association study using logistic regression, adjusting for confounders (age, sex, and genetic ancestry). We found evidence of association between AD and blue eye color (P = 0.0005 and odds ratio = 1.83 (1.31–2.57)), supporting light eye color as a risk factor relative to brown eye color. Network-based analyses revealed a statistically significant (P = 0.02) number of genetic interactions between eye color genes and AD-associated genes. We found evidence of linkage disequilibrium between an AD-associated GABA receptor gene cluster,GABRB3/GABRG3, and eye color genes,OCA2/HERC2, as
well as between AD-associated GRM5 and pigmentation-associated TYR. Our population-phenotype, network, and linkage disequilibrium analyses support association between blue eye color and AD. Although we controlled for stratification we cannot exclude underlying occult stratification as a contributor to this observation. Although replication is needed, our findings suggest that eye pigmentation information may be useful in research on AD. Further characterization of this association may unravel new AD etiological factors.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B Neuropsychiatric Genetics