Schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder. Genetic risk is conferred by a large number of alleles, including common alleles of small effect that might be detected by genome-wide association studies. Here, we report a multi-stage schizophrenia genome-wide association study of up to 36,989 cases and 113,075 controls. We identify 128 independent associations spanning 108 conservatively defined loci that meet genome-wide significance, 83 of which have not been previously reported. Associations were enriched among genes expressed in brain providing biological plausibility for the findings. Many findings have the potential to provide entirely novel insights into aetiology, but associations at DRD2 and multiple genes involved in glutamatergic neurotransmission highlight molecules of known and potential therapeutic relevance to schizophrenia, and are consistent with leading pathophysiological hypotheses. Independent of genes expressed in brain, associations were enriched among genes expressed in tissues that play important roles in immunity, providing support for the hypothesized link between the immune system and schizophrenia.
There are very little data on the relationship between systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), arterial compliance and left ventricular structure and function, particularly left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) in the very elderly (>75 years). SBP and arterial stiffness increase with age, and the question is: which of the two is the main stimulus to LV hypertrophy? This is a cross-sectional study to compare blood pressure and arterial stiffness measures with regard to their correlations with echocardiographic parameters of LV structure and function, controlling for age and cardiovascular risk factors, in a very elderly population. Arterial stiffness was determined by radial pulse waveform using pulse contour analysis. LV dimensions were measured by transthoracic M-mode echocardiography, and diastolic function by tissue Doppler measurements of diastolic mitral annular velocities. There were 179 subjects, all male, with a mean age of 81.8 years. Using age-adjusted partial correlations, SBP, DBP and mean arterial pressure (MAP) were correlated with parameters of LV structure and function. Correlation coefficients were: SBP v. left ventricular mass index (LVMI), r = 0.246; SBP v. early diastolic mitral annular velocity (MAV), r = -0.179; DBP v. LVMI, r = 0.199; DBP v. MAV, r = -0.199; MAP v. LVMI r = 0.276; and MAP v. MAV, r = -.206, all with p<0.05. However, neither capacitative nor reflective arterial compliance was significantly correlated with any parameter of LV structure and function. After controlling for age and ten cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, the correlation between blood pressure and the measured LV parameters was substantially unchanged, as was the lack of correlation between indices of arterial compliance and the LV indices. Arterial blood pressure is correlated with LV structure and function in the very elderly, but arterial stiffness, as measured by diastolic pulse contour analysis, is not.
Blood pressure; blood pressure; arterial stiffness; arterial compliance; myocardial remodeling; left ventricular hypertrophy; elderly
We sought to identify cognitive phenotypes for family/genetic studies of successful cognitive aging (SCA; maintaining intact cognitive functioning while living to late old age).We administered a battery of neuropsychological tests to nondemented nonagenarians (n = 65; mean age = 93.4±3.0) and their offspring (n = 188; mean age = 66.4±5.0) from the Central Valley of Costa Rica. After covarying for age, gender, and years of education, as necessary, heritability was calculated for cognitive functions at three pre-defined levels of complexity: specific neuropsychological functions (e.g., delayed recall, sequencing), three higher level cognitive domains (memory, executive functions, attention), and an overall neuropsychological summary. The highest heritability was for delayed recall (h2 = 0.74, se = 0.14, p < 0.0001) but significant heritabilities involving memory were also observed for immediate recall (h2 = 0.50), memory as a cognitive domain (h2 = 0.53), and the overall neuropsychological summary (h2 = 0.42). Heritabilities for sequencing (h2 = 0.42), fluency (h2 = 0.39), abstraction (h2 = 0.36), and the executive functions cognitive domain (h2 = 0.35) were also significant. In contrast, the attention domain and memory recognition were not significantly heritable in these families. Among the heritable specific cognitive functions, a strong pleiotropic effect (i.e., evidence that these may be influenced by the same gene or set of genes) for delayed and immediate recall was identified (bivariate statistic = 0.934, p < 0.0001) and more modest but significant effects were found for four additional bivariate relationships. The results support the heritability of good cognitive function in old age and the utilization of several levels of phenotypes, and they suggest that several measures involving memory may be especially useful for family/genetic studies of SCA.
Family studies; hispanic population; neuropsychological phenotype; oldest-old; successful cognitive aging
Haptoglobin (Hp) genotype (Hp 1-1, 1-2, or 2-2) is associated with risk for type 2 diabetes complications, but its relationship with cognitive compromise, a growing concern in type 2 diabetes, has rarely been studied. This study investigated whether Hp genotype is associated with cognitive function in cognitively normal elderly diabetic subjects.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Relationships of Hp genotype with episodic memory, semantic categorization, attention/working memory and executive function, and an overall cognitive score were examined in subjects from the Israel Diabetes and Cognitive Decline (IDCD) study.
In the present analysis, 812 subjects participated (84 with Hp 1-1, 335 with Hp 1-2, and 393 with Hp 2-2 genotypes). Average was 72.9 years of age (SD 4.7), and Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) was 28.0 (SD 1.8). Compared with subjects with Hp 1-2 genotype, Hp 1-1 subjects performed significantly worse in semantic categorization (F = 7.03; P = 0.008) and the overall cognitive score (F = 5.57; P = 0.02). A separate stepwise multiple regression analysis demonstrated that compared with subjects with Hp 2-2 genotype, Hp 1-1 subjects performed significantly worse in semantic categorization (F = 4.18; P = 0.04) and the overall cognitive score (F = 4.70; P = 0.03). The contribution of cardiovascular risk factors to cognition was significantly higher in subjects with Hp 1-1 genotype compared with Hp 2 carriers (Hp 1-2 and Hp 2-2) in the semantic categorization (P = 0.009) and attention/working memory (P = 0.002) cognitive domains.
Compared with Hp 2 carriers, those with Hp 1-1 genotype present lower cognitive performance. Stronger relationships between cardiovascular risk factors and cognition in the latter group may suggest an underlying vascular mechanism.
The antisaccade task is a widely used technique to measure failure of inhibition, an important cause of cognitive and clinical abnormalities found in schizophrenia. Although antisaccade performance, which reflects the ability to inhibit prepotent responses, is a putative schizophrenia endophenotype, researchers have not consistently reported the expected differences between first-degree relatives and comparison groups. Schizophrenia participants(n=219) from the large Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia (COGS) sample (n=1078) demonstrated significant deficits on an overlap version of the antisaccade task compared to their first-degree relatives (n=443) and community comparison subjects (CCS; n=416). Although mean antisaccade performance of first-degree relatives was intermediate between schizophrenia participants and CCS, a linear mixed-effects model adjusting for group, site, age, and gender found no significant performance differences between the first-degree relatives and CCS. However, admixture analyses showed that two components best explained the distributions in all three groups, suggesting two distinct doses of an etiological factor. Given the significant heritability of antisaccade performance, the effects of a genetic polymorphism is one possible explanation of our results.
Oculomotor; Endophenotype; Antisaccade; Schizophrenia; Family
Life expectancy is a familial trait. However, the effectiveness of using the age at death of a deceased parent to estimate life expectancy in their offspring can vary depending on whether death in the parent was due to extrinsic versus intrinsic causes, as well as demographic characteristics such as sex. While Alzheimer’s disease (AD) risk increases with increased age, mortality for individuals with AD is increased in contrast to comparably aged individuals without AD. Yet in most cases it is not the defining neuropathology of AD that directly terminates life but instead conditions and illnesses extrinsic to AD pathology that nevertheless have increased likelihood in its presence. For this reason, we hypothesized that offspring of AD mothers would have greater longevity than offspring of mothers without AD (insufficient numbers prevented a comparable analysis using fathers with AD). The longevity of 345 offspring of 100 deceased 60+ year old AD mothers was compared with 5,465 offspring in 1,312 deceased 60+ year old non-AD mothers. We used a proportional hazards model that accounted for clustered (nonindependent) observations due to the inclusion of several offspring from the same family. In both an unadjusted model and one that adjusted for the age at death in the mother, and the sex and birth year in the offspring we found evidence for increased longevity in the offspring of AD mothers. The results suggest that, in addition to genes that might directly affect pathways leading to AD, there may be familial/genetic factors not connected to specific pathophysiological processes in AD but instead associated with increased longevity that contribute to the familial aggregation observed in AD.
Alzheimer’s disease; longevity; familiality; life expectancy; genetics
To study the relationships of long-term trajectories of glycemic control with cognitive performance in cognitively normal elderly with type 2 diabetes (T2D).
Subjects (n = 835) pertain to a diabetes registry (DR) established in 1998 with an average of 18 HbA1c measurements per subject, permitting identification of distinctive trajectory groups of HbA1c and examining their association with cognitive function in five domains: episodic memory, semantic categorization, attention/working memory, executive function, and overall cognition. Analyses of covariance compared cognitive function among the trajectory groups adjusting for sociodemographic, cardiovascular, diabetes-related covariates and depression.
Subjects averaged 72.8 years of age. Six trajectories of HbA1c were identified, characterized by HbA1c level at entry into the DR (Higher/Lower), and trend over time (Stable/Decreasing/Increasing). Both groups with a trajectory of decreasing HbA1c levels had high HbA1c levels at entry into the DR (9.2%, 10.7%), and high, though decreasing, HbA1c levels over time. They had the worst cognitive performance, particularly in overall cognition (p<0.02) and semantic categorization (p<0.01), followed by that of subjects whose HbA1c at entry into the DR was relatively high (7.2%, 7.8%) and increased over time. Subjects with stable HbA1c over time had the lowest HbA1c levels at entry (6.0%, 6.8%) and performed best in cognitive tests.
Glycemic control trajectories, which better reflect chronicity of T2D than a single HbA1c measurement, predict cognitive performance. A trajectory of stable HbA1c levels over time is associated with better cognitive function.
Numerous studies have documented that patients with schizophrenia show neurocognitive impairments, which are also heritable in schizophrenia families. In view of these findings, the current investigation tested the hypothesis that neurocognitive performance of schizophrenia probands can predict the neurocognitive performance of their unaffected family members.
Participants (n=1,967; schizophrenia=369; first-degree relatives=1,072; community comparison subjects=526) in the Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia (COGS) were administered the Penn Computerized Neurocognitive Battery (CNB).
Consistent with prior work, probands showed significant neurocognitive impairment, and neurocognitive ability was significantly heritable, across domains. On average, unaffected relatives did not differ from community comparison subjects in their neurocognitive performance. However, in 6 of 7 domains, probands’ score predicted the performance of their unaffected siblings. Male, but not female, probands’ performance was predictive of their unaffected relatives (siblings and mothers) performance, most consistently in face memory and spatial processing.
Using a novel approach in which individual probands are paired with their respective unaffected relatives within each family, we found that male probands’ performance predicted both sister and brother performance, an effect that was most powerfully observed for face memory and spatial processing. Results suggest that the familial transmission of sexually dimorphic neurocognitive domains, in which a particular sex tends to show a performance advantage over the other, may not itself be sex specific in schizophrenia families.
Schizophrenia; neurocognition; endophenotype; heritability; genetics; sex differences
The Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia has undertaken a large multisite study to characterize 12 neurophysiological and neurocognitive endophenotypic measures as a step toward understanding the complex genetic basis of schizophrenia. The authors previously demonstrated the heritability of these endophenotypes; in the present study, genetic linkage was evaluated.
Each family consisted of a proband with schizophrenia, at least one unaffected sibling, and both parents. A total of 1,286 participants from 296 families were genotyped in two phases, and 1,004 individuals were also assessed for the endophenotypes. Linkage analyses of the 6,055 single-nucleotide polymorphisms that were successfully assayed, 5,760 of which were common to both phases, were conducted using both variance components and pedigree-wide regression methods.
Linkage analyses of the 12 endophenotypes collectively identified one region meeting genome-wide significance criteria, with a LOD (log of odds) score of 4.0 on chromosome 3p14 for the antisaccade task, and another region on 1p36 nearly meeting genome-wide significance, with a LOD score of 3.5 for emotion recognition. Chromosomal regions meeting genome-wide suggestive criteria with LOD scores >2.2 were identified for spatial processing (2p25 and 16q23), sensorimotor dexterity (2q24 and 2q32), prepulse inhibition (5p15), the California Verbal Learning Test (8q24), the degraded-stimulus Continuous Performance Test (10q26), face memory (10q26 and 12p12), and the Letter-Number Span (14q23).
Twelve regions meeting genome-wide significant and suggestive criteria for previously identified heritable, schizophrenia-related endophenotypes were observed, and several genes of potential neurobiological interest were identified. Replication and further genomic studies are needed to assess the biological significance of these results.
Impaired motor function has been associated with cognitive impairment and dementia, but this relationship is poorly understood in elderly with type 2 diabetes (T2D). We thus investigated it in a large sample (n = 726) of cognitively normal elderly with T2D.
In this cross-sectional study, hierarchical linear regressions assessed correlations of 3 motor measures (timed walk, grip strength, and self-reported motor difficulties) with episodic memory, attention/working memory, semantic categorization, executive function, and overall cognition controlling for demographics.
Longer timed walk and weaker grip strength were associated with poorer performance in all cognitive domains except episodic memory.
Associations of motor and cognitive functions in T2D and non-T2D samples are consistent. A lack of association of motor function with episodic memory may suggest non-Alzheimer's disease-related underlying mechanisms.
Type 2 diabetes; Motor function; Cognition; Elderly; Memory; Dementia
Startle and its inhibition by weak lead stimuli (“prepulse inhibition”: PPI) are studied to understand the neurobiology of information processing in patients and community comparison subjects (CCS). PPI has a strong genetic basis in infrahumans, and there is evidence for its heritability, stability and reliability in humans. PPI has gained increasing use as an endophenotype to identify vulnerability genes for brain disorders, including schizophrenia. Genetic studies now often employ multiple, geographically dispersed test sites to accommodate the need for large and complex study samples. Here, we assessed the feasibility of using PPI in multi-site studies.
Within a 7-site investigation with multiple measures, the Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia conducted a methodological study of acoustic startle and PPI in CCS. Methods were manualized, videotaped and standardized across sites with intensive in-person training sessions. Equipment was acquired and programmed at the “PPI site” (UCSD), and stringent quality assurance (QA) procedures were used. Testing was completed on 196 CCS over 2.5 years, with 5 primary startle dependent measures: eyeblink startle magnitude, habituation, peak latency, latency facilitation and PPI.
Analyses identified significant variability across sites in some but not all primary measures, and determined factors both within the testing process and subject characteristics that influenced a number of test measures. QA procedures also identified non-standardized practices with respect to testing methods and procedural “drift”, which may be particularly relevant to multi-site studies using these measures.
With thorough oversight and QA procedures, measures of acoustic startle PPI can be acquired reliably across multiple testing sites. Nonetheless, even among sites with substantial expertise in utilizing psychophysiological measures, multi-site studies using startle and PPI as dependent measures require careful attention to methodological procedures.
endophenotype; prepulse inhibition; schizophrenia; sex differences; startle
Multiple sources of evidence suggest that genetic factors influence variation in clinical features of schizophrenia. The authors present the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of dimensional symptom scores among individuals with schizophrenia.
Based on the Lifetime Dimensions of Psychosis Scale ratings of 2,454 case subjects of European ancestry from the Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia (MGS) sample, three symptom factors (positive, negative/disorganized, and mood) were identified with exploratory factor analysis. Quantitative scores for each factor from a confirmatory factor analysis were analyzed for association with 696,491 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) using linear regression, with correction for age, sex, clinical site, and ancestry. Polygenic score analysis was carried out to determine whether case and comparison subjects in 16 Psychiatric GWAS Consortium (PGC) schizophrenia samples (excluding MGS samples) differed in scores computed by weighting their genotypes by MGS association test results for each symptom factor.
No genome-wide significant associations were observed between SNPs and factor scores. Most of the SNPs producing the strongest evidence for association were in or near genes involved in neurodevelopment, neuroprotection, or neurotransmission, including genes playing a role in Mendelian CNS diseases, but no statistically significant effect was observed for any defined gene pathway. Finally, polygenic scores based on MGS GWAS results for the negative/disorganized factor were significantly different between case and comparison subjects in the PGC data set; for MGS subjects, negative/ disorganized factor scores were correlated with polygenic scores generated using case-control GWAS results from the other PGC samples.
The polygenic signal that has been observed in cross-sample analyses of schizophrenia GWAS data sets could be in part related to genetic effects on negative and disorganized symptoms (i.e., core features of chronic schizophrenia).
Identifying phenotypes for successful cognitive aging, intact cognition into late-old age (>age 75), can help identify genes and neurobiological systems that may lead to interventions against and prevention of late-life cognitive impairment. The association of C-reactive protein (CRP) with cognitive impairment and dementia, observed primarily in young-elderly samples, appears diminished or reversed in late-old age (75+ years). A family history study determined if high CRP levels in late-old aged cognitively intact probands are associated with a reduced risk of dementia in their first-degree family members, suggesting a familial successful cognitive aging phenotype.
The primary sample was 1,329 parents and siblings of 277 cognitively intact male veteran probands at least 75 years old. The replication sample was 202 relatives of 51 cognitively intact community-ascertained probands at least 85 years old. Relatives were assessed for dementia by proband informant interview. Their hazard ratio (HR) for dementia as a function of the proband's log-transformed CRP was calculated using the proportional hazards model.
Covarying for key demographics, higher CRP in probands was strongly associated with lower risk of dementia in relatives (HR = 0.55 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.41, 0.74], p < 0.02). The replication sample relationship was in the same direction, stronger in magnitude, and also significant (HR = 0.15 [95% CI 0.06, 0.37], p < 0.0001).
Relatives of successful cognitive aging individuals with high levels of CRP are relatively likely to remain free of dementia. High CRP in successful cognitive aging individuals may constitute a phenotype for familial—and thus possibly genetic—successful cognitive aging.
We have used a custom 1,536-SNP array to interrogate 94 functionally relevant candidate genes for schizophrenia and identify associations with 12 heritable neurophysiological and neurocognitive endophenotypes collected as part of the Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia (COGS).
Variance-component association analyses of 534 genotyped subjects from 130 families were conducted using Merlin. A novel bootstrap Total Significance Test was also developed to overcome the limitations of existing genomic multiple testing methods and robustly demonstrate the presence of significant associations in the context of complex family data and possible population stratification effects.
Associations were observed for 46 genes of potential functional significance with 3 SNPs at p<10−4, 27 SNPs at p<10−3, and 147 SNPs at p<0.01. The bootstrap analyses confirmed that the 47 SNP-endophenotype combinations with the strongest evidence of association significantly exceeded (p=0.001) that expected by chance alone with 93% of these findings expected to be true. Many of the genes interact on a molecular level, and eight genes displayed evidence for pleiotropy (e.g., NRG1 and ERBB4), revealing associations with four or more endophenotypes. Our results collectively support a strong role for genes related to glutamate signaling in mediating schizophrenia susceptibility.
This study supports the use of relevant endophenotypes and the bootstrap Total Significance Test for the identification of genetic variation underlying the etiology of schizophrenia. In addition, the observation of extensive pleiotropy for some genes and singular associations for others in our data suggests alternative, independent pathways mediating pathogenesis in the “group of schizophrenias”.
Inhibition of the P50 evoked electroencephalographic response to the second of paired auditory stimuli has been frequently examined as a neurophysiological deficit in schizophrenia. The National Institute of Mental Health Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia (COGS) examined this endophenotype in a 7 center multi-site study. Recordings were analyzed from 181 probands with schizophrenia, 429 of their first degree relatives, and 333 community comparison control subjects. Most probands were being treated with second generation neuroleptic medications. Highly significant differences in P50 inhibition, measured as either the ratio of amplitudes or their difference in response to the two stimuli, were found between the probands and the community comparison sample. There were no differences between the COGS sites for these findings. For the ratio parameter, an admixture analysis indicated that nearly 40% of the relatives demonstrated deficiencies in P50 inhibition that are comparable to the deficit found in the probands. These results indicate that P50 auditory evoked potentials can be recorded across multiple sites and reliably demonstrate a physiological abnormality in schizophrenia. The appearance of the physiological abnormality in a substantial proportion of clinically unaffected first degree relatives is consistent with the hypothesis that deficits in cerebral inhibition may be a familial neurobiological risk factor for the illness.
Schizophrenia; Evoked potentials auditory; Inhibition; Genetics
The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship of changes in long term glucose levels as measured by Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) with simultaneous changes in cognition. The sample included in the present analysis consisted of 101 community dwelling non-diabetic elderly subjects participating in ongoing longitudinal studies of cognition. Subjects were included in this study if they were cognitively normal at baseline, had at least one co-temporaneous follow-up assessment of HbA1c and the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE), and complete data on age, gender, race, and years of education. MMSE decline over time was the main outcome measure. In TOBIT mixed regression models, MMSE was the dependent variable and HbA1c the time-varying covariate. Sociodemographic (age, gender, and education), cardiovascular (hypertension and APOE4 status), and lifestyle (smoking and physical activity) covariates were included in the statistical model. After adjusting for age at follow-up, there was a decrease of 1.37 points in the MMSE (p = 0.0002) per unit increase in HbA1c. This result remained essentially unchanged after adjusting also for gender and education (p = 0.0005), cardiovascular factors (p = 0.0003), and lifestyle (p = 0.0006). Additionally, results remained very similar after excluding subjects with potentially incipient diabetes with HbA1c between 6 and 7. These findings suggest that in non-diabetic non-demented elderly subjects, an increase in HbA1c over time is associated with cognitive decline. Such results may have broad clinical applicability since manipulation of glucose control, even in non-diabetics, may affect cognitive performance, perhaps enabling preventive measures against dementia.
Cognition; elderly; glucose control; HbA1c; non-diabetic
Advanced glycations end products increase oxidant stress, inflammation, and neurotoxicity. Serum levels are increased in diabetes and aging. We examined the relationship between serum methylglyoxal derivatives (sMG), and cognitive decline, in 267 non-demented elderly.
Tobit mixed regression models assessed the association of baseline sMG with cognitive decline in the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) over time, controlling for sociodemographic factors (age, sex, and years of education), cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes and presence of an APOE4 allele), and kidney function. sMG was assessed by ELISA.
The fully adjusted model showed an annual decline of 0.26 MMSE points per unit increase in baseline sMG (p=0.03). Significance was unchanged as additional risk factors were added to the model. The interactions of sMG with diabetes, sex, age, kidney function, and APOE4 genotype were not significant.
Higher levels of baseline sMG were associated with a faster rate of cognitive decline, after adjusting for several sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. This relationship did not differ by sex, APOE4 genotype, or diabetes status suggesting its generality. Since subjects were cognitively normal at the beginning of the study, elevated sMG may be indicative of brain cell injury initiated before clinically evident cognitive compromise.
methylglyoxal; advanced glycation end products; type 2 diabetes; cognitive decline; Alzheimer's disease
To examine the association of homocysteine with cognitive functioning in very elderly (80+ years of age) community dwelling individuals.
228 non-demented community dwelling individuals were assessed with a broad neuropsychological battery. Bloods were drawn to measure homocysteine levels, serum vitamin B12 and folate, and for APOE genotype.
Higher homocysteine levels were associated with poorer executive function/language scores (r=−.311). The association persisted when serum B12 and folate were controlled for (r=−.308). Homocysteine levels were not associated with memory score (r=.120).
In very elderly nondemented community dwellers, high homocysteine levels are associated with poorer executive/language function but not with memory. This possible differential affect of homocysteine on cognitive functions suggests it may affect only specific brain regions or mechanisms underlying healthy executive functioning.
dementia; cognitive performance; homocysteine
Mutations in the PTEN gene are associated with a broad spectrum of disorders, including Cowden syndrome (CS), Bannayan–Riley–Ruvalcaba syndrome, Proteus syndrome, and Lhermitte–Duclos disease. In addition, PTENmutations have been described in a few patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and macrocephaly. In this study, we screened the PTEN gene for mutations and deletions in 88 patients with ASDs and macrocephaly (defined as ≥2 SD above the mean). Mutation analysis was performed by direct sequencing of all exons and flanking regions, as well as the promoter region. Dosage analysis of PTEN was carried out using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA). No partial or whole gene deletions were observed. We identified a de novo missense mutation (D326N) in a highly conserved amino acid in a 5-year-old boy with autism, mental retardation, language delay, extreme macrocephaly (+9.6 SD) and polydactyly of both feet. Polydactyly has previously been described in two patients with Lhermitte–Duclos disease and CS and is thus likely to be a rare sign of PTEN mutations. Our findings suggest that PTEN mutations are a relatively infrequent cause of ASDs with macrocephaly. Screening of PTEN mutations is warranted in patients with autism and pronounced macrocephaly, even in the absence of other features of PTEN-related tumor syndromes.
Cowden syndrome; Bannayan–Riley–Ruvalcaba syndrome; polydactyly; sequence analysis; multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification
Consistent with the clinical picture of milder symptomatology in schizotypal personality disorder (SPD) than schizophrenia, morphological studies indicate SPD abnormalities in temporal lobe regions but to a much lesser extent in prefrontal regions implicated in schizophrenia. Lower fractional anisotropy (FA), a measure of white-matter integrity within prefrontal, temporal, and cingulate regions has been reported in schizophrenia but has been little studied in SPD.
To examine temporal and prefrontal FA in 30 neuroleptic-naïve SPD patients and 35 matched healthy controls. We hypothesized that compared with healthy controls (HCs), SPD patients would exhibit lower FA in temporal and anterior cingulum regions but relative sparing in prefrontal regions.
We acquired diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in all participants and examined FA in the white matter underlying Brodmann areas (BAs) in dorsolateral prefrontal (BA44,45,46), temporal (BA22,21,20), and cingulum (BA25,24,31,23,29) regions using multivariate-ANOVAs.
Compared with healthy controls, the SPD group had significantly lower FA in left temporal but not prefrontal regions. In the cingulum, FA was lower in the SPD group in posterior regions (BA31 and 23), higher in anterior (BA25) regions and lower overall in the right but not left cingulum. Among the SPD group, lower FA in the cingulum was associated with more severe negative symptoms (e.g., odd speech).
Similar to schizophrenia, our results indicate cingulum-temporal lobe FA abnormalities in SPD and suggest that cingulum abnormalities are associated with negative symptoms.
Diffusion tensor imaging; schizotypal personality disorder; dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; temporal lobe; cingulum; fractional anisotropy
Little is known about brain function in the oldest old, although this is the fastest growing segment of the population in developed countries and is of paramount importance in public health considerations. In this study, we investigated the cerebral response to a memory task in healthy subjects over age 90 compared with healthy younger elderly.
We studied 29 healthy elderly subjects, 12 over age 90 and 17 between age 70 and 80. All subjects were cognitively intact, as verified by a neuropsychological battery, and performed a nonverbal memory task while undergoing a functional MRI (fMRI). Activation results were analyzed by a random-effects ANCOVA using SPM5. The task resulted in activation of similar areas of the posterior temporal, parietal, and posterior frontal cortexes, but the activation was more robust in the younger subjects, especially in the right hippocampus, and parietal and temporal cortices. This finding remained after controlling for education, cognition, task performance or cerebral atrophy.
The phenomenon of relatively maintained performance, despite significant brain atrophy and lower activation is consistent with the cognitive reserve theory and may be specific to subjects with extremely successful aging. Further investigation of brain activation patterns in the oldest old is warranted.
functional MRI; nonagenarians; brain activation; cognitive reserve
schizophrenia; 5p13; AMACR; genetic association; case-control study
In cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, type 2 diabetes has been positively associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The present descriptive study compared diabetic and nondiabetic subjects on the severity of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in the cerebral cortex and in the hippocampus.
The study included specimens from 385 consecutive autopsies of residents of a nursing home (15.8% diabetics). Mean age at death = 84 years [standard deviation (SD) = 10], 66% were female, Clinical Dementia Rating mean = 3.0 (SD = 1.6), and 32.5% had an APOE4 allele. Additional analyses limited the sample to 268 subjects (14.1% diabetics) without neuropathology other than AD.
Analyses of covariance controlling for age at death, dementia severity (Clinical Dementia Rating score), and APOE4 allele indicated that diabetics had significantly fewer neuritic plaques (p = .008) and NFTs (p = .047) in the cerebral cortex than did nondiabetics. In the hippocampus, diabetics had significantly lower plaque ratings than did nondiabetics (p = .019), but the lower ratings of NFTs did not achieve statistical significance (p = .082). In the entire sample, diabetics had significantly less AD-associated neuropathology in all four analyses.
These results raise the possibility that the varied associations observed between diabetes and AD may be specific to as yet ill-defined subgroups of dementia and diabetic patients or may be more characteristic of younger patients than of those who survive to a mean age of 84 years. Future studies are encouraged to examine a variety of other characteristics such as age that may interact with diabetes affecting the incidence of AD.