Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) has a complex etiology involving both genetic and environmental factors. However, the genetic causes of OCD are largely unknown, despite the identification of several promising candidate genes and linkage regions.
Our objective was to conduct genetic linkage studies of the type of OCD thought to have the strongest genetic etiology (i.e., childhood-onset OCD), in 33 Caucasian families with ≥2 childhood-onset OCD-affected individuals from the United States (US) (N=245 individuals with genotype data). Parametric and non-parametric genome-wide linkage analyses were conducted with Morgan and Merlin in these families using a selected panel of single nucleotide repeat polymorphisms (SNPs) from the Illumina 610-Quad Bead Chip. The initial analyses were followed by fine-mapping analyses in genomic regions with initial heterogeneity LOD (HLOD) scores of ≥2.0.
We identified five areas of interest (HLOD score ≥2) on chromosomes 1p36, 2p14, 5q13, 6p25, and 10p13. The strongest result was on chromosome 1p36.33-p36.32 (HLOD=3.77, suggestive evidence for linkage after fine-mapping). At this location, several of the families showed haplotypes co-segregating with OCD.
The results of this study represent the strongest linkage finding for OCD in a primary analysis to date, and suggest that chromosome 1p36, and possibly several other genomic regions, may harbor susceptibility loci for OCD. Multiple brain-expressed genes lie under the primary linkage peak (approximately 4 mb in size). Follow-up studies, including replication in additional samples and targeted sequencing of the areas of interest, are needed to confirm these findings and to identify specific OCD risk variants.
Keywords: linkage, genomewide, pedigree, obsessive-compulsive, genetics, multigenerational