Genetic research on cocaine dependence may help clarify our understanding of the disorder as well as provide insights for effective treatment. Since endocannabinoid signaling and dopamine neurotransmission have been shown to be involved with drug reward, genes related to these systems are plausible candidates for susceptibility to cocaine dependence. The cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) protein regulates both the endocannabinoid and dopaminergic neurobiological systems, and polymorphisms in the cannabinoid receptor gene, CNR1, have been previously been associated with substance dependence. In this study, we attempt to replicate a finding associating CNR1 with cocaine dependence in African Americans. Cocaine dependent individuals (n=883) and unaffected controls (n=334) of African descent were genotyped for two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CB1 gene (rs6454674, rs806368). We observed a significant difference in genotype frequencies between cases and controls for both SNPs (p≤0.05). This study confirms the association between variants in the CNR1 and cocaine dependence. However, considering the substantial co-morbidity of cocaine dependence with other drugs of abuse, additional studies are necessary to determine whether polymorphisms in CNR1 induce a general susceptibility to substance dependence or are specific to cocaine addiction.
Addiction; Association study; Cocaine; Cannabinoid receptor; Genetics; Substance abuse
Sociability—the tendency to seek social interaction–propels the development of social cognition and social skills, but is disrupted in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). BALB/cJ and C57BL/6J inbred mouse strains are useful models of low and high levels of juvenile sociability, respectively, but the neurobiological and developmental factors that account for the strains’ contrasting sociability levels are largely unknown. We hypothesized that BALB/cJ mice would show increasing sociability with age but that C57BL/6J mice would show high sociability throughout development. We also hypothesized that littermates would resemble one another in sociability more than non-littermates. Finally, we hypothesized that low sociability would be associated with low corpus callosum size and increased brain size in BALB/cJ mice. Separate cohorts of C57BL/6J and BALB/cJ mice were tested for sociability at 19-, 23-, 31-, 42-, or 70-days-of-age, and brain weights and mid-sagittal corpus callosum area were measured. BALB/cJ sociability increased with age, and a strain by age interaction in sociability between 31 and 42 days of age suggested strong effects of puberty on sociability development. Sociability scores clustered according to litter membership in both strains, and perinatal litter size and sex ratio were identified as factors that contributed to this clustering in C57BL/6J, but not BALB/cJ, litters. There was no association between corpus callosum size and sociability, but smaller brains were associated with lower sociability in BALB/cJ mice. The associations reported here will provide directions for future mechanistic studies of sociability development.
Autism; Mouse; Model; Juvenile; Social; Behavior
Genome-wide association studies implicate variations in CHRNA5 and CHRNA3 as being associated with nicotine addiction (NA). Multiple common haplotypes (“risk”, “mixed” and “protective”) exist in Europeans; however, high linkage disequilibrium between variations in CHRNA5 and CHRNA3 makes assigning causative allele(s) for NA difficult through genotyping experiments alone. We investigated whether CHRNA5 or CHRNA3 promoter haplotypes, associated previously with NA, might influence allelic expression levels. For in vitro analyses, promoter haplotypes were sub-cloned into a luciferase reporter vector. When assessed in BE(2)-C cells, luciferase expression was equivalent among CHRNA3 haplotypes, but the combination of deletion at rs3841324 and variation at rs503464 decreased CHRNA5 promoter-derived luciferase activity, possibly due to loss of an SP-1 and other site(s). Variation within the CHRNA5 5’UTR at rs55853698 and rs55781567 also altered luciferase expression in BE(2)-C cells. Allelic expression imbalance (AEI) from the “risk” or “protective” haplotypes was assessed in post-mortem brain tissue from individuals heterozygous at coding polymorphisms in CHRNA3 (rs1051730) or CHRNA5 (rs16969968). In most cases, equivalent allelic expression was observed; however, one individual showed CHRNA5 AEI that favored the “protective” allele and that was concordant with heterozygosity at polymorphisms ∼13.5 kb upstream of the CHRNA5 transcription start site. Putative enhancer activity from these distal promoter elements was assessed using heterologous promoter constructs. We observed no differences in promoter activity from the two distal promoter haplotypes examined, but found that the distal promoter region strongly repressed transcription. We conclude that CHRNA5 promoter variants may affect relative risk for NA in some heterozygous individuals.
To describe sexual functioning in women with eating disorders.
We assessed physical intimacy, libido, sexual anxiety, partner and sexual relationships in 242 women from the International Price Foundation Genetic Studies relative to normative data.
Intercourse (55.3%), having a partner (52.7%), decreased sexual desire (66.9%), and increased sexual anxiety (59.2%) were common. Women with restricting and purging anorexia nervosa had a higher prevalence of loss of libido than women with bulimia nervosa and eating disorder not otherwise specified (75%, 74.6%, 39% and 45.4%, respectively). Absence of sexual relationships was associated with lower minimum lifetime body mass index (BMI) and earlier age of onset; loss of libido with lower lifetime BMI, higher interoceptive awareness and trait anxiety; and sexual anxiety with lower lifetime BMI, higher harm avoidance and ineffectiveness. Sexual dysfunction in eating disorders was higher than in the normative sample.
Sexual dysfunction is common across eating disorders subtypes. Low BMI is associated with loss of libido, sexual anxiety, and avoidance of sexual relationships.
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; sexual behavior; sexual dysfunction
Extremely low body mass index (BMI) values are associated with increased risk for death and poor long-term prognosis in individuals with AN. The present study explores childhood personality characteristics that could be associated with the ability to attain an extremely low BMI.
Participants were 326 women from the Genetics of Anorexia Nervosa (GAN) Study who completed the Structured Interview for Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimic Syndromes and whose mother completed the Child Behavioral Check List and/or Revised Dimensions of Temperament Survey.
Children who were described as having greater fear or anxiety by their mothers attained lower BMIs during AN (p <0.02). Path analysis in the GAN and a validation sample, Price Foundation Anorexia Nervosa Trios Study, confirmed the relation between early childhood anxiety, caloric restriction, qualitative food item restriction, excessive exercise, and low BMI. Path analysis also confirmed a relation between childhood anxiety and caloric restriction, which mediated the relation between childhood anxiety and low BMI in the GAN sample only.
Fearful or anxious behavior as a child was associated with the attainment of low BMI in AN and childhood anxiety was associated with caloric restriction. Measures of anxiety and factors associated with anxiety-proneness in childhood may index children at risk for restrictive behaviors and extremely low BMIs in AN.
Anorexia Nervosa; Anxiety; Body Mass Index
We performed association studies with 5,151 SNPs that were judged as likely candidate genetic variations conferring susceptibility to anorexia nervosa (AN) based on location under reported linkage peaks, previous results in the literature (182 candidate genes), brain expression, biological plausibility, and estrogen responsivity. We employed a case–control design that tested each SNP individually as well as haplotypes derived from these SNPs in 1,085 case individuals with AN diagnoses and 677 control individuals. We also performed separate association analyses using three increasingly restrictive case definitions for AN: all individuals with any subtype of AN (All AN: n = 1,085); individuals with AN with no binge eating behavior (AN with No Binge Eating: n = 687); and individuals with the restricting subtype of AN (Restricting AN: n = 421). After accounting for multiple comparisons, there were no statistically significant associations for any individual SNP or haplotype block with any definition of illness. These results underscore the importance of large samples to yield appropriate power to detect genotypic differences in individuals with AN and also motivate complementary approaches involving Genome-Wide Association (GWA) studies, Copy Number Variation (CNV) analyses, sequencing-based rare variant discovery assays, and pathway-based analysis in order to make up for deficiencies in traditional candidate gene approaches to AN.
single nucleotide polymorphisms; probands; anorexia nervosa; bulimia nervosa
genetics; association study; haplotype; addiction; substance abuse; cocaine
Cocaine induced neuroplasticity changes in the mesocorticolimbic dopamine systems are thought to be involved in the pathophysiology of cocaine dependence. Since neurotrophic factors have been observed to prevent/reverse and mimic cocaine-induced neurobiological changes in the brain, related genes are plausible candidates for susceptibility to cocaine dependence. The novel conserved dopamine neurotrophic factor protein (CDNF) promotes the survival, growth, and function of dopamine-specific neurons and is expressed in brain regions that undergo cocaine-induced neuroplasticity. In this study, we hypothesize that polymorphisms in the CDNF gene (CDNF/ARMETL1) contribute to increased risk for cocaine dependence. Cocaine dependent individuals (n=351) and unaffected controls (n=257) of African descent were genotyped for four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CDNF gene (rs11259365, rs7094179, rs7900873, rs2278871). We observed no significant differences in allele, genotype, or haplotype frequencies between cases and controls for any of the tested SNPs. Our study suggests that there is no association between variants in the CDNF gene and cocaine dependence. However, additional studies using larger sample sizes, comprehensive SNP coverage, and clinically homogenous populations are necessary before confidently excluding CDNF as a significant genetic risk factor for cocaine dependence.
Addiction; Association study; Cocaine; Neurotrophic factor; Genetics; Substance abuse; ARMETL1
Dopaminergic brain systems have been implicated to play a major role in drug reward, thus making genes involved in these circuits plausible candidates for susceptibility to substance use disorders. The cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide (CARTPT) is involved in reward and feeding behavior and has functional characteristics of an endogenous psychostimulant. In this study we tested the hypothesis that variation in the CARTPT gene increases susceptibility to cocaine dependence in individuals of African descent. Genotypes of three HapMap tagging SNPs (rs6894758; rs11575893; rs17358300) across the CARTPT gene region were obtained in cocaine dependent individuals (n=348) and normal controls (n=256). All subjects were of African descent. There were no significant differences in allele, genotype or haplotype frequencies between cases and controls for any of the tested SNPs. Our results do not support an association of the CARTPT gene with cocaine dependence; however, additional studies using larger samples, comprehensive SNP coverage, and different populations are necessary to conclusively rule out CARTPT as a contributing factor in the etiology of cocaine dependence.
genetics; association study; haplotype; addiction; substance abuse; cocaine
We investigated the relation between diet pill use and eating disorder subtype, purging and other compensatory behaviors, body mass index (BMI), tobacco and caffeine use, alcohol abuse or dependence, personality characteristics, and Axis I and Axis II disorders in 1,345 participants from the multisite Price Foundation Genetics Studies. Diet pill use was significantly less common in women with restricting type of AN than in women with other eating disorder subtypes. In addition, diet pill use was associated with the use of multiple weight control behaviors, higher BMI, higher novelty seeking, and the presence of anxiety disorders, alcohol abuse or dependence, and borderline personality disorder. Findings suggest that certain clinical and personality variables distinguish individuals with eating disorders who use diet pills from those who do not. In the eating disorder population, vigilant screening for diet pill use should be routine clinical practice.
Eating disorders; diet pills; weight control behaviors; novelty seeking
genetics; association study; haplotype; addiction; substance abuse
The mouse μ-opioid receptor gene, Oprm1, currently contains 18 recognized alternatively spliced exons (Doyle et al., 2007) that generate 27 splice variants encoding at least 11 morphine-binding isoforms of the receptor. Here, we identify five MOR variants that contain an as yet undescribed exon (exon 19) of the gene, and we provide evidence that these MOR splice variants are expressed in the C57BL/6 and DBA/2 mouse strains. Three splice variants, MOR-1Eii, MOR-1Eiii and MOR-1Eiv, encode the MOR-1E isoform and contain the newly identified exon 19 in their 3’ untranslated regions. The fourth splice variant encodes a novel μ-opioid receptor isoform, MOR-1U, and contains exon 19 in its coding region. The cytoplasmic tail of the putative MOR-1U isoform contains a putative nuclear localization signal encoded by the sequence of exon 19. Exon 19 appears to be conserved in the rat, but not in humans. In mouse and rat Oprm1, exon 19 is located between described exons 7 and 8. We also report the cloning of the “full-length” MOR-1T splice variant (Kvam et al., 2004) that encodes MOR-1 and contains the newly identified exon in its 3’ UTR. RT-PCR analysis suggests that splice variants MOR-1Eii, MOR-1Eiii, MOR-1Eiv, MOR-1T and MOR-1U are expressed in all brain regions analyzed (cortex, cerebellum, hypothalamus, thalamus and striatum). These exon 19-containing splice variants add to the growing complexity of the mouse Oprm1 gene.
murine; Opiate receptor; C57BL/6; DBA/2; cDNA
The vesicular monoamine transporter 1 gene (VMAT1/SLC18A1) maps to the shared bipolar disorder (BPD) / schizophrenia (SZ) susceptibility locus on chromosome 8p21. Vesicular monoamine transporters are involved in transport of monoamine neurotransmitters which have been postulated to play a relevant role in the etiology of BPD and/or SZ. Variations in the VMAT1 gene might affect transporter function and/or expression and might be involved in the etiology of BPD and/or SZ. Genotypes of 585 patients with BPD type I and 563 control subjects were obtained for three missense SNPs (Thr4Pro, Thr98Ser, Thr136Ile) and 4 non-coding SNPs (rs988713, rs2279709, rs3735835, rs1497020). All cases and controls were of European descent. Allele frequencies differed significantly for the potential functional polymorphism Thr136Ser between BPD patients and controls (p = 0.003; df = 1; OR = 1.34; 95% CI: 1.11 – 1.62). Polymorphisms in the promoter region (rs988713: p = 0.005, df = 1; OR = 1.31; 95% CI: 1.09 – 1.59) and intron 8 (rs2279709: p = 0.039, df = 1; OR = 0.84; 95% CI: 0.71 – 0.99) were also associated with disease. Expression analysis confirmed that VMAT1 is expressed in human brain at the mRNA and protein level. Results suggest that variations in the VMAT1 gene may confer susceptibility to BPD in patients of European descent. Additional studies are necessary to confirm this effect and to elucidate the role of VMAT1 in CNS physiology.
This article reviews the concept of an endophenotype, with particular reference to heritability as well as diagnostic specificity. An endophenotype need not be heritable, for example, the possible influence of in utero viral infections for schizophrenia. However, heritability is a useful characteristic for a potential endophenotype, as it can be studied in relation to a plausible candidate gene. It should be noted that the traditional methods of demonstrating heritability eg, twin studies, can be supplemented with DNA sequence studies, suggesting heritability. Endophenotypes need not be specific to a given nosological class of psychiatric disorders, as these classes do not reflect biological categories. Evidence for two useful schizophrenia endophenotypes, the P50 abnormalities and cognitive deficits, is summarized.
endophenotype; schizophrenia; bipolar disorder; heritability; P50 auditory evoked potential; cognitive deficit
Linkage studies have defined at least five bipolar (BP) disorder susceptibility loci that meet suggested guidelines for initial identification and subsequent confirmation. These loci, found on 18p11, 18q22, 21q21, 4p16, and Xq26, are targets for BP candidate gene investigations. Molecular dissection of expressed sequences for these regions is likely to yield specific BP susceptibility alleles in most cases, in all probability, these BP susceptibility alleles will be common in the general population, and, individually, will be neither necessary nor sufficient for manifestation syndrome. Additive or multiplicative oligogenic models involving several susceptibility loci appear most reasonable at present, it is hoped thai these BP susceptibility genes will increase understanding of many mysteries surrounding these disorders, including drug response, cycling patterns, age-of-onset, and modes of transmission.
genetics; bipolar disorder; linkage; susceptibility
We studied the relation between intrusive and repetitive hair-pulling, the defining feature of trichotillomania, and compulsive and impulsive features in 1453 individuals with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. We conducted a series of regression models examining the relative influence of compulsive features associated with obsessive compulsive disorder; compulsive features associated with eating disorders; trait features related to harm avoidance, perfectionism and novelty seeking; and self harm. A final model with a reduced sample (n=928) examined the additional contribution of impulsive attributes. One out of 20 individuals endorsed hair-pulling. Evidence of a positive association with endorsement of compulsive behavior of the obsessive compulsive spectrum emerged. Hair-pulling may be more consonant with ritualistic compulsions than impulsive urges in those with eating disorders.
eating disorders; trichotillomania; hair-pulling; anorexia nervosa; bulimia nervosa; impulsivity; compulsivity
To further refine our understanding of impulsivity, obsessions, and compulsions in anorexia nervosa (AN) by isolating which behaviors—binge eating, purging, or both—are associated with these features.
We conducted regression analyses with binge eating, purging, and the interaction of binge eating with purging as individual predictors of scores for impulsivity, obsessions, and compulsions in two samples of women with AN (n = 1373).
Purging, but not binge eating, was associated with higher scores of impulsivity, obsessions and compulsions. Purging was also associated with worst eating rituals and with worst eating preoccupations.
Our results suggest that purging, compared with binge eating, may be a stronger correlate of impulsivity, obsessions, and compulsions in AN.
anorexia nervosa; impulsivity; compulsivity; binge eating; purging
This exploratory study assessed whether maternal recall of childhood feeding and eating practices differed across anorexia nervosa (AN) subtypes. Participants were 325 women from the Genetics of Anorexia Nervosa study whose mothers completed a childhood feeding and eating questionnaire. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were used to predict AN subtype from measures related to childhood eating: (a) infant feeding (breastfed, feeding schedule, age of solid food introduction), (b) childhood picky eating (picky eating before age one and between ages one and five), and (c) infant gastrointestinal problems (vomiting and colic). Results revealed no significant differences in retrospective maternal report of childhood feeding and eating practices among AN subtypes.
Anorexia Nervosa; Anorexia Nervosa Subtype; Feeding; Maternal Report; Infancy
Comorbidity among eating disorders, traumatic events, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been reported in several studies. The main objectives of this study were to describe the nature of traumatic events experienced and to explore the relation between PTSD and anorexia nervosa (AN) in a sample of women.
Eight hundred twenty-four participants from the National Institutes of Health funded Genetics of Anorexia Nervosa Collaborative Study were assessed for eating disorders, PTSD, and personality characteristics.
From a final sample of 753 women with AN, 13.7% (n=103) met DSM-IV criteria for PTSD. The sample mean age was 29.5 years (SD=11.1). In pairwise comparisons across AN subtypes, the odds of having a PTSD diagnosis were significantly lower in individuals with restricting AN (RAN) than individuals with purging AN without binge eating (PAN) (OR=0.49, 95% CI=0.30, 0.80). The majority of participants with PTSD reported the first traumatic event before the onset of AN (64.1%, n=66). The most common traumatic events reported by those with a PTSD diagnosis were sexual related traumas during childhood (40.8%) and during adulthood (35.0%).
AN and PTSD do co-occur and traumatic events tend to occur prior to the onset of AN. Clinically, these results underscore the importance of assessing trauma history and PTSD in individuals with AN and raise the question of whether specific modifications or augmentations to standard treatment for AN should be considered in a subgroup to address PTSD-related psychopathology.
PTSD; anorexia nervosa; trauma; prevalence; comorbid; epigenetic
We investigated sociodemographic characteristics in women with and without lifetime eating disorders.
Participants were from a multi-site international study of eating disorders (N = 2096). Education level, relationship status, and reproductive status were examined across eating disorder subtypes and compared with a healthy control group.
Overall, women with eating disorders were less educated than controls, and duration of illness and age of onset were associated with educational attainment. Menstrual status was associated with both relationship and reproductive status, but eating disorder subtypes did not differ significantly from each other or from healthy controls on these dimensions.
Differences in educational attainment, relationships, and reproduction do exist in individuals with eating disorders and are differentially associated with various eating disorder symptoms and characteristics. These data could assist with educating patients and family members about long-term consequences of eating disorders.
Children; relationship; education; anorexia nervosa; bulimia nervosa; amenorrhea
Although a highly heritable and disabling disease, bipolar disorder's (BD) genetic variants have been challenging to identify. We present new genotype data for 1,190 cases and 401 controls and perform a genome-wide association study including additional samples for a total of 2,191 cases and 1,434 controls. We do not detect genome-wide significant associations for individual loci; however, across all SNPs, we show an association between the power to detect effects calculated from a previous genome-wide association study and evidence for replication (P = 1.5×10−7). To demonstrate that this result is not likely to be a false positive, we analyze replication rates in a large meta-analysis of height and show that, in a large enough study, associations replicate as a function of power, approaching a linear relationship. Within BD, SNPs near exons exhibit a greater probability of replication, supporting an enrichment of reproducible associations near functional regions of genes. These results indicate that there is likely common genetic variation associated with BD near exons (±10 kb) that could be identified in larger studies and, further, provide a framework for assessing the potential for replication when combining results from multiple studies.
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a highly heritable disease that has been difficult to characterize genetically. We have genotyped 1,190 BD cases and 401 controls to find regions of the genome associated with BD. After combining these data with previously existing genotyped samples, we did not find any genome-wide significant associations. However, when we used an additional study to prioritize loci for replication and meta-analysis purposes, we found that we were more likely to see an association in our sample with variants for which we had the highest power. We quantified this effect using logistic regression and saw a strong association between power to detect an effect based on an initial study's results and replication P-value in a second study (P = 1.5×10−7), supporting the presence of shared genetic risk factors across the studies. Moreover, this association was stronger when we restricted analysis to SNPs near coding regions, and it was further enriched when SNPs had the same direction of effect in both studies. This result supports the presence of genetic factors underlying BD near exons whose collective effect results in a detectable signal and provides a framework for assessing the potential for replication when combining results from multiple studies.
We examined prevalence of substance use disorders (SUD) in women with: (1) anorexia nervosa (AN) restricting type (RAN); (2) AN with purging only (PAN); (3) AN with binge eating only (BAN); and (4) lifetime AN and bulimia nervosa (ANBN). Secondary analyses examined SUD related to lifetime purging behavior and lifetime binge eating.
Participants (N = 731) were drawn from the International Price Foundation Genetic Studies.
The prevalence of SUD differed across AN subtypes, with more in the ANBN group reporting SUD than those in the RAN and PAN groups. Individuals who purged were more likely to report substance use than those who did not purge. Prevalence of SUD differed across lifetime binge eating status.
SUD are common in AN and are associated with bulimic symptomatology. Results underscore the heterogeneity in AN, highlighting the importance of screening for SUD across AN subtypes.
eating disorders; anorexia nervosa; bulimia nervosa; drug use; alcohol related disorders; cannabis
To increase the likelihood of finding genetic variation conferring liability to eating disorders, we measured over 100 attributes thought to be related to liability to eating disorders on affected individuals from multiplex families and two cohorts: one recruited through a proband with anorexia nervosa (AN; AN cohort); the other recruited through a proband with bulimia nervosa (BN; BN cohort). By a multilayer decision process based on expert evaluation and statistical analysis, six traits were selected for linkage analysis (1): obsessionality (OBS), age at menarche (MENAR) and anxiety (ANX) for quantitative trait locus (QTL) linkage analysis; and lifetime minimum Body Mass Index (BMI), concern over mistakes (CM) and food-related obsessions (OBF) for covariate-based linkage analysis. The BN cohort produced the largest linkage signals: for QTL linkage analysis, four suggestive signals: (for MENAR, at 10p13; for ANX, at 1q31.1, 4q35.2, and 8q13.1); for covariate-based linkage analyses, both significant and suggestive linkages (for BMI, one significant [4q21.1] and three suggestive [3p23, 10p13, 5p15.3]; for CM, two significant [16p13.3, 14q21.1] and three suggestive [4p15.33, 8q11.23, 10p11.21]; and for OBF, one significant [14q21.1] and five suggestive [4p16.1, 10p13.1, 8q11.23, 16p13.3, 18p11.31]). Results from the AN cohort were far less compelling: for QTL linkage analysis, two suggestive signals (for OBS at 6q21 and for ANX at 9p21.3); for covariate-based linkage analysis, five suggestive signals (for BMI at 4q13.1, for CM at 11p11.2 and 17q25.1, and for OBF at 17q25.1 and 15q26.2). Overlap between the two cohorts was minimal for substantial linkage signals.
Complex disease; endophenotype; liability; mixture model; regression