There is recent evidence of some degree of shared genetic susceptibility between adult schizophrenia and childhood attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for rare chromosomal variants.
To determine whether there is overlap between common alleles conferring risk of schizophrenia in adults with those that do so for ADHD in children.
We used recently published Psychiatric Genome-wide Association Study (GWAS) Consortium (PGC) adult schizophrenia data to define alleles over-represented in people with schizophrenia and tested whether those alleles were more common in 727 children with ADHD than in 2067 controls.
Schizophrenia risk alleles discriminated ADHD cases from controls (P = 1.04×10–4, R2 = 0.45%); stronger discrimination was given by alleles that were risk alleles for both adult schizophrenia and adult bipolar disorder (also derived from a PGC data-set) (P = 9.98×10–6, R2 = 0.59%).
This increasing evidence for a small, but significant, shared genetic susceptibility between adult schizophrenia and childhood ADHD highlights the importance of research work across traditional diagnostic boundaries.
The genetic architecture of ADHD is complex, with rare and common variants involved. Common genetic variants (as indexed by a composite risk score) associated with clinical ADHD significantly predict ADHD and autistic-like behavioural traits in children from the general population, suggesting that ADHD lies at the extreme of normal trait variation. ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders share neurocognitive difficulties in several domains (e.g. impaired cognitive ability and executive functions). We hypothesised that ADHD composite genetic risk scores derived from clinical ADHD cases would also contribute to variation in neurocognitive abilities in the general population.
Children (N = 6,832) from a UK population cohort, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), underwent neurocognitive testing. Parent-reported measures of their children's ADHD and autistic-like traits were used to construct a behavioural latent variable of ‘neurodevelopmental traits’. Composite genetic risk scores for ADHD were calculated for ALSPAC children based on findings from an independent ADHD case–control genome-wide association study. Structural equation modelling was used to assess associations between ADHD composite genetic risk scores and IQ, working memory, inhibitory control and facial emotion recognition, as well as the latent ‘neurodevelopmental trait’ measure.
The results confirmed that neurocognitive and neurodevelopmental traits are correlated in children in the general population. Composite genetic risk scores for ADHD were independently associated with lower IQ (β = −.05, p < .001) and working memory performance (β = −.034, p = .013), even after accounting for the relationship with latent neurodevelopmental behavioural trait scores. No associations were found between composite genetic risk scores and inhibitory control or emotion recognition (p > .05).
These findings suggest that common genetic variants relevant to clinically diagnosed ADHD have pleiotropic effects on neurocognitive traits as well as behavioural dimensions in the general population. This further suggests that the well-recognised association between cognition and neurodevelopmental behavioural traits is underpinned at a biological level.
ALSPAC; ADHD; genetics; cognition
Twin studies and genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA) are not in agreement regarding heritability estimates for behavioral traits in children from the general population. This has sparked a debate on the possible difference in genetic architecture between behavioral traits and psychiatric disorders. In this study, we test whether polygenic risk scores associated with variation in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) trait levels in children from the general population predict ADHD diagnostic status and severity in an independent clinical sample.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with p < .5 from a genome-wide association study of ADHD traits in 4,546 children (mean age, 7 years 7 months) from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; general population sample) were selected to calculate polygenic risk scores in 508 children with an ADHD diagnosis (independent clinical sample) and 5,081 control participants. Polygenic scores were tested for association with case-control status and severity of disorder in the clinical sample.
Increased polygenic score for ADHD traits predicted ADHD case-control status (odds ratio = 1.17 [95% CI = 1.08–1.28], p = .0003), higher ADHD symptom severity (β = 0.29 [95% CI = 0.04–0.54], p = 0.02), and symptom domain severity in the clinical sample.
This study highlights the relevance of additive genetic variance in ADHD, and provides evidence that shared genetic factors contribute to both behavioral traits in the general population and psychiatric disorders at least in the case of ADHD.
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); polygenic risk scores; Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC); common variants; genetics
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.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be viewed as the extreme end of traits in the general population. Epidemiological and twin studies suggest that ADHD frequently co-occurs with and shares genetic susceptibility with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and ASD-related traits. The aims of this study were to determine whether a composite of common molecular genetic variants, previously found to be associated with clinically diagnosed ADHD, predicts ADHD and ASD-related traits in the general population.
Polygenic risk scores were calculated in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) population sample (N = 8229) based on a discovery case-control genome-wide association study of childhood ADHD. Regression analyses were used to assess whether polygenic scores predicted ADHD traits and ASD-related measures (pragmatic language abilities and social cognition) in the ALSPAC sample. Polygenic scores were also compared in boys and girls endorsing any (rating ≥1) ADHD item (n = 3623).
Polygenic risk for ADHD showed a positive association with ADHD traits (hyperactive-impulsive, p = .0039; inattentive, p = .037). Polygenic risk for ADHD was also negatively associated with pragmatic language abilities (p = .037) but not with social cognition (p = .43). In children with a rating ≥1 for ADHD traits, girls had a higher polygenic score than boys (p = .003).
These findings provide molecular genetic evidence that risk alleles for the categorical disorder of ADHD influence hyperactive-impulsive and attentional traits in the general population. The results further suggest that common genetic variation that contributes to ADHD diagnosis may also influence ASD-related traits, which at their extreme are a characteristic feature of ASD.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; autism spectrum disorder; Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC); genetics; pragmatic language; social communication
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often co-occur and share genetic risks. The aim of this analysis was to determine more broadly whether ADHD and ASD share biological underpinnings.
We compared copy number variant (CNV) data from 727 children with ADHD and 5,081 population controls to data from 996 individuals with ASD and an independent set of 1,287 controls. Using pathway analyses, we investigated whether CNVs observed in individuals with ADHD have an impact on genes in the same biological pathways as on those observed in individuals with ASD.
The results suggest that the biological pathways affected by CNVs in ADHD overlap with those affected by CNVs in ASD more than would be expected by chance. Moreover, this was true even when specific CNV regions common to both disorders were excluded from the analysis. After correction for multiple testing, genes involved in 3 biological processes (nicotinic acetylcholine receptor signalling pathway, cell division, and response to drug) showed significant enrichment for case CNV hits in the combined ADHD and ASD sample.
The results of this study indicate the presence of significant overlap of shared biological processes disrupted by large rare CNVs in children with these 2 neurodevelopmental conditions.
ADHD; ASD; pathway analysis; CNVs; comorbidity
Schizophrenia is a heritable disorder with substantial public health
impact. We conducted a multi-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) for
schizophrenia beginning with a Swedish national sample (5,001 cases, 6,243
controls) followed by meta-analysis with prior schizophrenia GWAS (8,832 cases,
12,067 controls) and finally by replication of SNPs in 168 genomic regions in
independent samples (7,413 cases, 19,762 controls, and 581 trios). In total, 22
regions met genome-wide significance (14 novel and one previously implicated in
bipolar disorder). The results strongly implicate calcium signaling in the
etiology of schizophrenia, and include genome-wide significant results for
CACNA1C and CACNB2 whose protein products
interact. We estimate that ∼8,300 independent and predominantly common
SNPs contribute to risk for schizophrenia and that these collectively account
for most of its heritability. Common genetic variation plays an important role
in the etiology of schizophrenia, and larger studies will allow more detailed
understanding of this devastating disorder.
schizophrenia; genetics; genome-wide association; meta-analysis
Despite compelling evidence for a major genetic contribution to risk of bipolar mood disorder, conclusive evidence implicating specific genes or pathophysiological systems has proved elusive. In part this is likely to be related to the unknown validity of current phenotype definitions and consequent aetiological heterogeneity of samples. In the recent Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) genome-wide association analysis of bipolar disorder (1868 cases, 2938 controls) one of the most strongly associated polymorphisms lay within the gene encoding the GABAA receptor β1 subunit, GABRB1. Aiming to increase biological homogeneity, we sought the diagnostic subset that showed the strongest signal at this polymorphism and used this to test for independent evidence of association with other members of the GABAA receptor gene family. The index signal was significantly enriched in the 279 cases meeting Research Diagnostic Criteria for schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type (p=3.8×10−6). Independently, these cases showed strong evidence that variation in GABAA receptor genes influences risk for this phenotype (independent system-wide p=6.6×10−5) with association signals also at GABRA4, GABRB3, GABRA5 and GABRR1. Our findings have the potential to inform understanding of presentation, pathogenesis and nosology of bipolar disorders. Our method of phenotype refinement may be useful in studies of other complex psychiatric and non-psychiatric disorders.
bipolar disorder; major depressive disorder; genome-wide association study; meta-analysis
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often co-occur. Factor analyses of ASD traits in children with and without ASD indicate the presence of social and restrictive–repetitive behaviour (RRB) factors. This study used exploratory factor analyses to determine the structure of ASD traits (assessed using the Social Communication Questionnaire) in children with ADHD. Distinct factors were observed for ‘social’ and ‘rigidity’ traits, corresponding to previous factor analyses in clinical ASD and population samples. This indicates that the split between social-communicative and RRB dimensions is unaffected by ADHD in children. Moreover, the study also finds that there is some overlap across hyperactive-impulsive symptoms and RRB traits in children with ADHD, which merits further investigation.
ADHD; ASD; Factor analysis; Neurodevelopment
Recent findings from genetic epidemiology and from genome-wide association studies point strongly to a partial overlap in the genes that contribute susceptibility to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (BD). Previous data have also directly implicated one of the best supported schizophrenia-associated loci, zinc finger binding protein 804A (ZNF804A), as showing trans-disorder effects, and the same is true for one of the best supported bipolar loci, calcium channel, voltage-dependent, L type, alpha 1C subunit (CACNA1C) which has also been associated with schizophrenia. We have undertaken a cross-phenotype study based upon the remaining variants that show genome-wide evidence for association in large schizophrenia and BD meta-analyses. These comprise in schizophrenia, SNPs in or in the vicinity of transcription factor 4 (TCF4), neurogranin (NRGN) and an extended region covering the MHC locus on chromosome 6. For BD, the strongly supported variants are in the vicinity of ankyrin 3, node of Ranvier (ANK3) and polybromo-1 (PBRM1). Using data sets entirely independent of their original discoveries, we observed strong evidence that the PBRM1 locus is also associated with schizophrenia (P = 0.00015) and nominally significant evidence (P < 0.05) that the NRGN and the extended MHC region are associated with BD. Moreover, considering this highly restricted set of loci as a group, the evidence for trans-disorder effects is compelling (P = 4.7 × 10−5). Including earlier reported data for trans-disorder effects for ZNF804A and CACNA1C, six out of eight of the most robustly associated loci for either disorder show trans-disorder effects.
We sought to identify new susceptibility loci for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) through a staged association study (GERAD+) and by testing suggestive loci reported by the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetic Consortium (ADGC). First, we undertook a combined analysis of four genome-wide association datasets (Stage 1) and identified 10 novel variants with P≤1×10−5. These were tested for association in an independent sample (Stage 2). Three SNPs at two loci replicated and showed evidence for association in a further sample (Stage 3). Meta-analyses of all data provide compelling evidence that ABCA7 (meta-P 4.5×10−17; including ADGC meta-P=5.0×10−21) and the MS4A gene cluster (rs610932, meta-P=1.8×10−14; including ADGC meta-P=1.2×10−16; rs670139, meta-P=1.4×10−9; including ADGC meta-P=1.1×10−10) are novel susceptibility loci for AD. Second, we observed independent evidence for association for three suggestive loci reported by the ADGC GWAS, which when combined shows genome-wide significance: CD2AP (GERAD+ P=8.0×10−4; including ADGC meta-P=8.6×10−9), CD33 (GERAD+ P=2.2×10−4; including ADGC meta-P=1.6×10−9) and EPHA1 (GERAD+ P=3.4×10−4; including ADGC meta-P=6.0×10−10). These findings support five novel susceptibility genes for AD.
Late Onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) is the leading cause of dementia. Recent large genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified the first strongly supported LOAD susceptibility genes since the discovery of the involvement of APOE in the early 1990s. We have now exploited these GWAS datasets to uncover key LOAD pathophysiological processes.
We applied a recently developed tool for mining GWAS data for biologically meaningful information to a LOAD GWAS dataset. The principal findings were then tested in an independent GWAS dataset.
We found a significant overrepresentation of association signals in pathways related to cholesterol metabolism and the immune response in both of the two largest genome-wide association studies for LOAD.
Processes related to cholesterol metabolism and the innate immune response have previously been implicated by pathological and epidemiological studies of Alzheimer's disease, but it has been unclear whether those findings reflected primary aetiological events or consequences of the disease process. Our independent evidence from two large studies now demonstrates that these processes are aetiologically relevant, and suggests that they may be suitable targets for novel and existing therapeutic approaches.
Genome-wide linkage studies for Alzheimer's disease have implicated several chromosomal regions as potential loci for susceptibility genes.
In the present study, we have combined a selection of affected relative pairs (ARPs) from the UK and the USA included in a previous linkage study by Myers et al. (Am J Med Genet, 2002), with ARPs from Sweden and Washington University. In this total sample collection of 397 ARPs, we have analyzed linkage to chromosomes 1, 9, 10, 12, 19 and 21, implicated in the previous scan.
The analysis revealed that linkage to chromosome 19q13 close to the APOE locus increased considerably as compared to the earlier scan. However, linkage to chromosome 10q21, which provided the strongest linkage in the previous scan could not be detected.
The present investigation provides yet further evidence that 19q13 is the only chromosomal region consistently linked to Alzheimer's disease.
We have studied the impact of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) on the chromosome 19 linkage peak from an analysis of sib-pairs affected by Alzheimer’s disease. We genotyped 417 affected sib-pairs (ASPs) collected in Sweden and Norway (SWE), the UK and the USA for 10 microsatellite markers on chromosome 19. The highest Zlr (3.28, chromosome-wide P-value 0.036) from the multipoint linkage analysis was located approximately 1 Mb from APOE, at marker D19S178. The linkage to chromosome 19 was well explained by APOE in the whole sample as well as in the UK and USA subsamples, as identity by descent (IBD) increased with the number of ε4 alleles in ASPs. There was a suggestion from the SWE subsample that linkage was higher than would be expected from APOE alone, although the test for this did not reach formal statistical significance. There was also a significant age at onset (aao) effect on linkage to chromosome 19q13 in the whole sample, which manifested itself as increased IBD sharing in relative pairs with lower mean aao. This effect was partially, although not completely, explained by APOE. The aao effect varied considerably between the different subsamples, with most of the effect coming from the UK sample. The other samples showed smaller effects in the same direction, but these were not significant.
Alzheimer’s disease; APOE; linkage; age at onset; apolipoprotein E
To identify susceptibility loci for bipolar disorder, we tested 1.8 million variants in 4,387 cases and 6,209 controls and identified a region of strong association (rs10994336, P = 9.1 × 10-9) in ANK3 (ankyrin G). We also found further support for the previously reported CACNA1C (alpha 1C subunit of the L-type voltage-gated calcium channel; combined P = 7.0 × 10-8, rs1006737). Our results suggest that ion channelopathies may be involved in the pathogenesis of bipolar disorder.
We have used the genome-wide marker genotypes from Genetic Analysis Workshop 15 Problem 2 to explore joint evidence for genetic linkage to rheumatoid arthritis across several samples. The data consisted of four high-density genome scans on samples selected for rheumatoid arthritis. We cleaned the data, removed intermarker linkage disequilibrium, and assembled the samples onto a common genetic map using genome sequence positions as a reference for map interpolation. The individual studies were combined first at the genotype level (mega-analysis) prior to a multipoint linkage analysis on the combined sample, and second using the genome scan meta-analysis method after linkage analysis of each sample. The two approaches were compared, and give strong support to the HLA locus on chromosome 6 as a susceptibility locus. Other regions of interest include loci on chromosomes 11, 2, and 12.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common systematic autoimmune disease and its etiology is believed to have both strong genetic and environmental components. We demonstrate the utility of including genetic and clinical phenotypes as covariates within a linkage analysis framework to search for rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility loci. The raw genotypes of 1302 affected relative pairs were combined from four large family-based samples (North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium, United Kingdom, European Consortium on Rheumatoid Arthritis Families, and Canada). The familiality of the clinical phenotypes was assessed. The affected relative pairs were subjected to autosomal multipoint affected relative-pair linkage analysis. Covariates were included in the linkage analysis to take account of heterogeneity within the sample. Evidence of familiality was observed with age at onset (p << 0.001) and rheumatoid factor (RF) IgM (p << 0.001), but not definite erosions (p = 0.21). Genome-wide significant evidence for linkage was observed on chromosome 6. Genome-wide suggestive evidence for linkage was observed on chromosomes 13 and 20 when conditioning on age at onset, chromosome 15 conditional on gender, and chromosome 19 conditional on RF IgM after allowing for multiple testing of covariates.
Using parametric and nonparametric techniques, our study investigated the presence of single locus and pairwise effects between 20 markers of the Genetic Analysis Workshop 15 (GAW15) North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium (NARAC) candidate gene data set (Problem 2), analyzing 463 independent patients and 855 controls. Specifically, our work examined the correspondence between logistic regression (LR) analysis of single-locus and pairwise interaction effects, and random forest (RF) single and joint importance measures. For this comparison, we selected small but stable RFs (500 trees), which showed strong correlations (r~0.98) between their importance measures and those by RFs grown on 5000 trees. Both RF importance measures captured most of the LR single-locus and pairwise interaction effects, while joint importance measures also corresponded to full LR models containing main and interaction effects. We furthermore showed that RF measures were particularly sensitive to data imputation. The most consistent pairwise effect on rheumatoid arthritis was found between two markers within MAP3K7IP2/SUMO4 on 6q25.1, although LR and RFs assigned different significance levels.
Within a hypothetical two-stage design, pairwise LR analysis of all markers with significant RF single importance would have reduced the number of possible combinations in our small data set by 61%, whereas joint importance measures would have been less efficient for marker pair reduction. This suggests that RF single importance measures, which are able to detect a wide range of interaction effects and are computationally very efficient, might be exploited as pre-screening tool for larger association studies. Follow-up analysis, such as by LR, is required since RFs do not indicate high-risk genotype combinations.
We evaluate a method for the incorporation of covariates into linkage analysis using the Genetic Analysis Workshop 14 simulated data. Focusing on a randomly chosen replicate (42) we investigated the effect of the 12 subclinical phenotypes, sex, population, and parent-of-origin on the linkage signal from a model-free linkage analysis of Kofendrerd Personality Disorder.
We detected a linkage peak on chromosome 1, at about 175 cM, which varied depending upon individuals' status for subclinical phenotype b. A linkage peak on chromosome 3 (310 cM) was found not to depend upon subclinical phenotype status. Further peaks were found on chromosomes 5 (12 cM), 9 (4 cM), and 10 (95 cM), depending on the status of subclinical phenotypes a, k, and c/d/g, respectively.
Retrospective comparison of our results with the simulation model showed correct identification of disease loci D1-5 on chromosomes 1, 3, 5, 9 and 10, respectively.
Although attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is highly heritable, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have not yet identified any common genetic variants that contribute to risk. There is evidence that aggression or conduct disorder in children with ADHD indexes higher genetic loading and clinical severity. The authors examine whether common genetic variants considered en masse as polygenic scores for ADHD are especially enriched in children with comorbid conduct disorder.
Polygenic scores derived from an ADHD GWAS meta-analysis were calculated in an independent ADHD sample (452 case subjects, 5,081 comparison subjects). Multivariate logistic regression analyses were employed to compare polygenic scores in the ADHD and comparison groups and test for higher scores in ADHD case subjects with comorbid conduct disorder relative to comparison subjects and relative to those without comorbid conduct disorder. Association with symptom scores was tested using linear regression.
Polygenic risk for ADHD, derived from the meta-analysis, was higher in the independent ADHD group than in the comparison group. Polygenic score was significantly higher in ADHD case subjects with conduct disorder relative to ADHD case subjects without conduct disorder. ADHD polygenic score showed significant association with comorbid conduct disorder symptoms. This relationship was explained by the aggression items.
Common genetic variation is relevant to ADHD, especially in individuals with comorbid aggression. The findings suggest that the previously published ADHD GWAS meta-analysis contains weak but true associations with common variants, support for which falls below genome-wide significance levels. The findings also highlight the fact that aggression in ADHD indexes genetic as well as clinical severity.