We investigated genetic and environmental influences common to adolescent
externalizing behavior (at age 12), smoking (at age 14) and initiation of drug
use (at age 17) using the FinnTwin12 cohort data. Multivariate
Cholesky models were fit to data from 737 monozygotic and 722 dizygotic twin
pairs. Heritability of externalizing behavior was 56%, that of smoking
initiation/amount 20/32%, and initiation of drug use 27%. In the
best-fitting model common environmental influences explained most of the
covariance between externalizing behavior and smoking initiation (69%)
and amount (77%). Covariance between smoking initiation/amount and drug
use was due to additive genetic (42/22%) and common environmental
(58/78%) influences. Half of the covariance between externalizing
behavior and drug use was due to shared genetic and half due to the environments
shared by co-twins. Using a longitudinal, prospective design, our results
indicate that early observed externalizing behavior provides significant
underlying genetic and environmental influences common to later substance use,
here manifested as initiation of drug use in late adolescence.
Externalizing behavior; Smoking; Drugs; Genetic modeling
We examined whether externalizing problem behaviors (hyperactivity–impulsivity, aggressiveness, and inattention) predict illicit drug use independently, or whether their associations with drug use are mediated through cigarette smoking. We used a prospective longitudinal design within the FinnTwin12-17 study among Finnish adolescents with baseline at age 12 and follow-up surveys at ages 14 and 17. Path models were conducted with Mplus and included 1992 boys and 2123 girls. The outcome was self-reported ever use of cannabis or other illicit drugs at age 17. The predictors were: externalizing behaviors (hyperactivity–impulsivity, aggressiveness, and inattention) assessed by teachers and parents (age 12) and self-reported cigarette smoking (age 14). The findings differed across behavior studied. The association of hyperactivity–impulsivity with drug use was mostly mediated through earlier cigarette smoking. Concerning aggressiveness and inattention, the results were different among girls than boys. Among girls no significant mediation occurred, whereas among boys more consistent evidence on mediation was seen. Consistently in all models, the direct association of early cigarette smoking on drug use was strong and highly significant. We conclude that the associations of externalizing problem behaviors with illicit drug use are partially mediated through cigarette smoking. Although interventions targeting externalizing problem behaviors may protect adolescents from early onset smoking and subsequently experimenting with drugs, interventions to prevent cigarette smoking initiation are also important in reducing risk of later drug use.
externalizing behavior; hyperactivity-impulsivity; aggressiveness; inattention; cigarette smoking; tobacco; cannabis; illicit drugs; adolescents
Twin and family studies have demonstrated that adolescent alcohol use and behavior problems are influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. More recently, studies have begun to investigate how genetic and environmental influences may interact, with efforts underway to identify specific environmental variables that moderate the expression of genetic predispositions. Previously, we have reported that community-level factors, including urban/rural residency, migration rates, and prevalence of young adults, moderate the importance of genetic effects on alcohol use in late adolescence (ages 16 to 18). Here, we extend these findings to test for moderating effects of these socioregional factors on alcohol use and behavior problems assessed in a younger sample of adolescent Finnish twins.
Using data from the population-based Finnish twin study, FinnTwin12, biometric twin models were fit to data on >1,400 twin pairs to examine the significance of each of the socioregional moderating variables on alcohol use measured at age 14, and behavior problems, measured at age 12.
We find no evidence of a moderating role of these socioregional variables on alcohol use; however, there was significant moderation of genetic influences on behavior problems, with effects limited to girls. Genetic influences assumed greater importance in urban settings, communities with greater migration, and communities with a higher percentage of slightly older adolescents.
The moderation effects observed on behavior problems in early adolescence paralleled the effects found on alcohol use late in adolescence in an independent sample, providing further support for the idea that behavior problems may represent an earlier manifestation of the predisposition to subsequent alcohol problems. Our findings also support the growing body of evidence suggesting that females may be more susceptible to a variety of environmental influences than males.
Neighborhoods; Community; Genetics; Gene–Environment Interaction; Behavior Problems
Chromosome 20 has previously been associated with nicotine dependence (ND) and smoking cessation. Our aim was to replicate and extend these findings.
First, a total of 759 subjects belonging to 206 Finnish families were genotyped with 18 microsatellite markers residing on chromosome 20, in order to replicate previous linkage findings. Then, the replication data were combined to an existing whole-genome linkage data resulting in a total of 1,302 genotyped subjects from 357 families. ND diagnosed by DSM-IV criteria, the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND) score, and the lifetime maximum number of cigarettes smoked within a 24-hr period (MaxCigs24) were used as phenotypes in the nonparametric linkage analyses.
We replicated previously reported linkage to DSM-IV ND, with a maximum logarithm of odd (LOD) score of 3.8 on 20p11, with females contributing more (maximum LOD [MLOD] score 3.4 on 20q11) than males (MLOD score 2.6 on 20p11). With the combined sample, a suggestive LOD score of 2.3 was observed for DSM-IV ND on 20p11. Sex-specific analyses revealed that the signal was driven by females with a maximum LOD score of 3.3 (on 20q11) versus LOD score of 1.3 in males (on 20q13) in the combined sample. No significant linkage signals were obtained for FTND or MaxCigs24.
Our results provide further evidence that chromosome 20 harbors genetic variants influencing ND in adult smokers.
Serotonin transporter gene polymorphism (5-HTTLPR polymorphism) predicts the degree of structural and functional connectivity in the brain, and less consistently the degree of vulnerability for anxiety and depressive disorders. It is less known how 5-HTTLPR polymorphism influences on the coupling between brain and neuronal cardiovascular control. The present study demonstrates the impact of 5-HTTLPR polymorphism on the relations between heart rate (HR) corrected cardiac repolarization interval (QTc interval) and the brain 5-HTT binding.
Material and Methods
Thirty healthy young adults (fifteen monozygotic twin pairs) (mean age 26±1.3 years, 16 females) were imagined with single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) using iodine-123 labeled 2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl) nortropane (nor-β-CIT). Continuous ECG recording was obtained from each participant at supine rest. Signal averaged QTc interval on continuous ECG was calculated and compared with the brain imaging results.
In the two groups [l homozygotes (n = 16, 10 females), s carriers (n = 14, 8 female)] HR and the length of QTc interval were not influenced by 5-HTTLPR polymorphism. There were no significant relations between HR and 5-HTT binding in the brain. There were significant associations between QTc interval and nor-β-CIT binding in the brain in l homozygotes, but not in s carriers (correlations for QTc interval and nor-β-CIT binding of striatum, thalamus and right temporal region were −0.8–−0.9, (p<0.0005), respectively).
The finding of longer QTc interval with less 5-HTT binding availability in major serotonergic binding sites in l homozygotes, but not in s carriers, implicate to differentiated control of QTc interval by 5-HTTLPR polymorphism.
High serum triglyceride (TG) levels is an established risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD). Fat is stored in the form of TGs in human adipose tissue. We hypothesized that gene co-expression networks in human adipose tissue may be correlated with serum TG levels and help reveal novel genes involved in TG regulation.
Gene co-expression networks were constructed from two Finnish and one Mexican study sample using the blockwiseModules R function in Weighted Gene Co-expression Network Analysis (WGCNA). Overlap between TG-associated networks from each of the three study samples were calculated using a Fisher’s Exact test. Gene ontology was used to determine known pathways enriched in each TG-associated network.
We measured gene expression in adipose samples from two Finnish and one Mexican study sample. In each study sample, we observed a gene co-expression network that was significantly associated with serum TG levels. The TG modules observed in Finns and Mexicans significantly overlapped and shared 34 genes. Seven of the 34 genes (ARHGAP30, CCR1, CXCL16, FERMT3, HCST, RNASET2, SELPG) were identified as the key hub genes of all three TG modules. Furthermore, two of the 34 genes (ARHGAP9, LST1) reside in previous TG GWAS regions, suggesting them as the regional candidates underlying the GWAS signals.
This study presents a novel adipose gene co-expression network with 34 genes significantly correlated with serum TG across populations.
Mexicans; Finns; RNA sequencing; Triglycerides; Adipose tissue; Weighted gene co-expression network analysis
Twin studies demonstrate that measures of alcohol consumption (AC) show evidence of genetic influence, suggesting they may be useful in gene identification efforts. The extent to which these phenotypes will be informative in identifying susceptibility genes involved in alcohol dependence depends on the extent to which genetic influences are shared across measures of AC and alcohol problems. Previous studies have demonstrated that AC reported for the period of heaviest lifetime drinking shows a large degree of genetic overlap with alcohol dependence; however, many studies with genetic material assess current AC. Further, there are many different aspects of AC that can be assessed (e.g., frequency of use, quantity of use, and frequency of intoxication).
Here, we use data from 2 large, independent, population-based twin samples, Finn-Twin 16 and The Virginia Adult Twin Study of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders, to examine the extent to which genetic influences are shared across many different measures of AC and alcohol problems.
Genetic correlations across current AC measures and alcohol problems were high across both samples. However, both samples suggest a complex genetic architecture with many different genetic factors influencing various aspects of current AC and problems.
These results suggest that careful attention must be paid to the phenotype in efforts to “replicate” genetic effects across samples or combine samples for meta-analyses of genetic effects influencing susceptibility to alcohol-related outcomes.
Alcohol Consumption; Alcohol Dependence; Gene Finding; Genetic Influence; Twin Studies
Anxiety symptoms are common in chronic pain patients. High levels of anxiety are associated with increased pain experience and disability. Proneness to anxiety has a large interindividual variation. The aim of the study was to determine whether the anxiety-related temperament trait Harm Avoidance (HA), is associated with pain-related anxiety.
One hundred chronic pain patients in a multidisciplinary pain clinic participated in the study. The patients were assessed using the HA scale of the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) of Cloninger and Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale-20 (PASS-20). Both the HA total score and the four subscales of HA were analyzed. Current pain intensity was measured using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was used to control for the influence of depression on the personality measurement.
The HA total score was associated with PASS-20, but the association became non-significant after controlling for depression. The HA4 Fatigability subscale was associated with the PASS scales. Depression did not influence this association. Pain intensity was not correlated with HA or the PASS scales. However, the association between HA4 Fatigability and PASS was influenced by pain intensity. Higher pain intensity was associated with stronger association between the scales.
Harm Avoidance, representing temperament and trait-related anxiety, has relevance in pain-related anxiety. Assessing personality and temperament may deepen the clinician's understanding of the pain experience and behavior in chronic pain patients.
Prevalence differences in depressive symptoms between the sexes typically emerge in adolescence, with symptoms more prevalent among girls. Some evidence suggests that variation in onset and progression of puberty might contribute to these differences. This study used a genetically informative, longitudinal (assessed at ages 12, 14, and 17) sample of Finnish adolescent twins (N = 1214, 51.6% female) to test whether etiological influences on depressive symptoms differ as a function of pubertal status. These tests were conducted separately by sex, and explored longitudinal relationships. Results indicated that pubertal development moderates environmental influences on depressive symptoms. These factors are more important on age 14 depressive symptoms among more developed girls relative to their less developed peers, but decrease in influence on age 17 depressive symptoms. The same effects are observed in boys, but are delayed, paralleling the delay in pubertal development in boys compared to girls. Thus, the importance of environmental influences on depressive symptoms during adolescence changes as a function of pubertal development, and the timing of this effect differs across the sexes.
Pubertal development; Depressive symptoms; Moderation; Genetics
Callosal volume reduction has been observed in patients with bipolar disorder, but whether these deficits reflect genetic vulnerability to the illness remains unresolved. Here, we used computational methods to map corpus callosum abnormalities in a population-based sample of twin pairs discordant for bipolar disorder. Twenty-one probands with bipolar I disorder (mean age 44.4 ± 7.5 years; 48% female), 19 of their non-bipolar co-twins, and 34 demographically matched control twin individuals underwent magnetic resonance imaging. Three-dimensional callosal surface models were created to visualize its morphologic variability and to localize group differences. Neurocognitive correlates of callosal area differences were additionally investigated in a subsample of study participants. Bipolar (BPI) probands, but not their co-twins, showed significant callosal thinning and area reduction, most pronounced in the genu and splenium, relative to healthy twins. Altered callosal curvature was additionally observed in BPI probands. In bipolar probands and co-twins, genu and splenium midsagittal areas were significantly correlated with verbal processing speed and response inhibition. These findings suggest that aberrant connections between cortical regions—possibly reflecting decreased myelination of white matter tracts—may be involved in bipolar pathophysiology. However, findings of callosal thinning appear to be disease related, rather than reflecting genetic vulnerability to bipolar illness.
magnetic resonance imaging; mood disorders; myelination; processing speed; twin study
The authors tested for genetic linkage of DSM-IV-diagnosed major depressive disorder in families that were ascertained for cigarette smoking.
Within a study that targeted families characterized by a history of smoking, analyses derived a subset of 91 Australian families with two or more offspring with a history of DSM-IV major depressive disorder (affected sibling pairs, N=187) and 25 Finnish families (affected sibling pairs, N=33). Within this affected sibling pair design, the authors conducted nonparametric linkage analysis.
In the Australian heavy smoking families, the authors found a genome-wide significant multipoint LOD score of 4.14 for major depressive disorder on chromosome 3 at 24.9 cM (3p26-3p25).
Genome-wide significant linkage was detected for major depressive disorder on chromosome 3p in a sample ascertained for smoking. A linkage peak at this location was also observed in an independent study of major depressive disorder.
To examine whether smoking habits, nicotine dependence (ND) and plasma cotinine levels differ by diurnal type.
Data originated from the national FINRISK 2007 survey. Regression analyses were calculated to examine the association between diurnal type and smoking status, ND, and nicotine intake.
7091 FINRISK participants with smoking and diurnal type information and a subset of 1746 ever smokers with detailed smoking, and ND assessments.
Diurnal type assessed with a six-item sum scale was categorized as morning, intermediate and evening type. Smoking status was determined as current (daily or occasional), former, and never smokers. ND was measured with the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND), the Hooked on Nicotine Checklist (HONC), and the Nicotine Dependence Syndrome Scale (NDSS). For current smokers, plasma cotinine was analyzed as biochemical measurement of nicotine intake.
Evening type was associated with current smoking (OR=1.66, 95% CI 1.40, 1.97). A significant association with diurnal type was seen for FTND among men (beta= -0.46, 95% CI -0.72, -0.21), sexes combined for HONC (beta= -0.31, 95% CI -0.52, -0.11) and NDSS (beta= -0.86, 95% CI -1.43, -0.29) and for cotinine among men (beta= -0.73, 95% CI -1.16, -0.29). Adjustment for depressive symptoms attenuated the association of diurnal type with NDSS to be non-significant.
Diurnal type was associated with multiple ND measures and nicotine intake, interestingly more so among men. Evening type persons are at higher risk of dependence, but depressive symptoms attenuates this association clearly.
Adults; Smoking; Nicotine dependence; Diurnal type; Chronotype; Eveningness; Fagerström test for nicotine dependence; Nicotine dependence syndrome scale; Hooked on nicotine checklist; Cotinine
To investigate whether bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) activity in human serum is associated with the components of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in type 1 diabetic patients with various degrees of kidney disease and patients with IgA glomerulonephritis (IgAGN).
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Serum LPS activity was determined with the Limulus Amoebocyte Lysate chromogenic end point assay in type 1 diabetic patients with a normal albumin excretion rate (n = 587), microalbuminuria (n = 144), macroalbuminuria (n = 173); patients with IgAGN (n = 98); and in nondiabetic control subjects (n = 345). The relationships of the LPS/HDL ratio and MetS-associated variables were evaluated with Pearson correlation.
The MetS was more prevalent in type 1 diabetic patients (48%) than in patients with IgAGN (15%). Diabetic patients with macroalbuminuria had a significantly higher serum LPS/HDL ratio than patients with IgAGN. In the normoalbuminuric type 1 diabetic group, patients in the highest LPS/HDL quartile were diagnosed as having the MetS three times more frequently than patients in the lowest quartile (69 vs. 22%; P < 0.001). High LPS activity was associated with higher serum triglyceride concentration, earlier onset of diabetes, increased diastolic blood pressure, and elevated urinary excretion of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1.
High serum LPS activity is strongly associated with the components of the MetS. Diabetic patients with kidney disease seem to be more susceptible to metabolic endotoxemia than patients with IgAGN. Bacterial endotoxins may thus play an important role in the development of the metabolic and vascular abnormalities commonly seen in obesity and diabetes-related diseases.
Genetic effects contribute to individual differences in smoking behavior. Persistence to smoke despite known harmful health effects is mostly driven by nicotine addiction. As the physiological effects of nicotine are mediated by nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), we aimed at examining whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) residing in nAChR subunit (CHRN) genes, other than CHRNA3/CHRNA5/CHRNB4 gene cluster previously showing association in our sample, are associated with smoking quantity or serum cotinine levels.
The study sample consisted of 485 Finnish adult daily smokers (age 30–75 years, 59% men) assessed for the number of cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) and serum cotinine level. We first studied SNPs residing on selected nAChR subunit genes (CHRNA2, CHRNA4, CHRNA6/CHRNB3, CHRNA7, CHRNA9, CHRNA10, CHRNB2, CHRNG/CHRND) genotyped within a genome-wide association study for single SNP and multiple SNP associations by ordinal regression. Next, we explored individual haplotype associations using sliding window technique.
At one of the 8 loci studied, CHRNG/CHRND (chr2), single SNP (rs1190452), multiple SNP, and 2-SNP haplotype analyses (SNPs rs4973539–rs1190452) all showed statistically significant association with cotinine level. The median cotinine levels varied between the 2-SNP haplotypes from 220 ng/ml (AA haplotype) to 249 ng/ml (AG haplotype). We did not observe significant associations with CPD.
These results provide further evidence that the γ−δ nAChR subunit gene region is associated with cotinine levels but not with the number of CPD, illustrating the usefulness of biomarkers in genetic analyses.
Depressive symptoms and alcohol use are frequently positively associated during adolescence. This study aimed to assess the heritability of each phenotype across adolescence; to assess potential shared liabilities; to examine changes in the nature of shared liabilities across adolescence; and to investigate potential causal relationships between depressive symptoms and alcohol use. We studied a longitudinally assessed sample of adolescent Finnish twins (N = 1,282) to test hypotheses about genetic and environmental influences on these phenotypes within and across ages, using data from assessments at ages 12, 14, and 17.5 years. The heritability of depressive symptoms is consistent across adolescence (~40–50%), with contributions from common and unique environmental factors. The heritability of alcohol use varies across time (a2 = .25–.44), and age 14 alcohol use is heavily influenced by shared environmental factors. Genetic attenuation and innovation were observed across waves. Modest to moderate genetic (rA = .26–.59) and environmental (rC = .30–.63) correlations between phenotypes exist at all ages, but decrease over time. Tests for causal relationships between traits differed across ages and sexes. Intrapair MZ difference tests provided evidence for reciprocal causation in girls at ages 14 and 17.5. Formal causal models suggested significant causal relationships between the variables in both boys and girls. The association between depressive symptoms and alcohol use during adolescence is likely due to a combination of shared genetic and environmental influences and causal influences. These influences are also temporally dynamic, complicating efforts to understand factors contributing to the relationship between these outcomes.
Depressive symptoms; Alcohol use; Genetics; Shared liability; Structural equation modeling
Long-term functional brain effects of adolescent alcohol abuse remain uncertain, partially because of difficulties in distinguishing inherited deficits from neuronal effects of ethanol and by confounds associated with alcohol abuse, especially nicotine exposure. We conducted a longitudinal twin study to determine neurocognitive effects of adolescent alcohol abuse, as measured with the auditory event-related potential (ERP) component P3, a putative marker of genetic vulnerability to alcoholism.
Twin pairs (N = 177; 150 selected for intrapair concordance/ discordance for alcohol-related problems at age 18½) were recruited from ongoing studies of twins born 1975–1979 in Finland. Alcohol and tobacco use were assessed with questionnaires at ages 16, 17, 18½, and ∼25, and by a structured psychiatric interview concurrent with the ERP testing at mean age 25.8. During ERP recordings, subjects were instructed to detect target tones within a train of frequent “standards” and to ignore occasional “novel” sounds. To distinguish familial factors from ethanol effects, ERP and self-reported alcohol use measures were incorporated into hierarchical multiple regression (HMR) analysis, and intrapair differences in ERP were associated with intrapair differences in alcohol variables.
Novel-sound P3 amplitude correlated negatively with self-reported alcohol use in both between- and within-family analyses. No similar effect was observed for target-tone P3. HMR results suggest that twins' similarity for novel-sound P3 amplitude is modulated by their alcohol use, and this effect of alcohol use is influenced by genetic factors.
Our results, from a large sample of twins selected from a population-based registry for pairwise concordance/discordance for alcohol problems at 18½, demonstrate that adolescent alcohol abuse is associated with subtle neurophysiological changes in attention and orienting. The changes are reflected in decreased novel-sound P3 amplitude and may be modified by genetic factors.
Adolescents; Alcohol Abuse; Event-Related Potentials; P3; Twin Study
Serum concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides (TGs) and total cholesterol (TC) are important heritable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Although genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of circulating lipid levels have identified numerous loci, a substantial portion of the heritability of these traits remains unexplained. Evidence of unexplained genetic variance can be detected by combining multiple independent markers into additive genetic risk scores. Such polygenic scores, constructed using results from the ENGAGE Consortium GWAS on serum lipids, were applied to predict lipid levels in an independent population-based study, the Rotterdam Study-II (RS-II). We additionally tested for evidence of a shared genetic basis for different lipid phenotypes. Finally, the polygenic score approach was used to identify an alternative genome-wide significance threshold before pathway analysis and those results were compared with those based on the classical genome-wide significance threshold. Our study provides evidence suggesting that many loci influencing circulating lipid levels remain undiscovered. Cross-prediction models suggested a small overlap between the polygenic backgrounds involved in determining LDL-C, HDL-C and TG levels. Pathway analysis utilizing the best polygenic score for TC uncovered extra information compared with using only genome-wide significant loci. These results suggest that the genetic architecture of circulating lipids involves a number of undiscovered variants with very small effects, and that increasing GWAS sample sizes will enable the identification of novel variants that regulate lipid levels.
serum lipids; polygenic; genome-wide association; polygenic score; pathway analysis
The Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index (RAPI) is widely used to assess adolescent drinking-related problems. We asked how well RAPI, administered in late adolescence, predicts alcohol diagnoses at age 25 in a 7-year follow-up.
At age 18, a population-based sample of Finnish twins completed RAPI by postal questionnaire; 597 (300 male) twins, from pairs discordant and concordant for age 18 RAPI scores, were interviewed at age 25 with the SSAGA, yielding DSM-IIIR diagnoses. Polychoric correlations between RAPI and alcohol diagnoses and symptoms, the area under the response operator characteristic (ROC) curve, and the odds ratio of outcome diagnosis per unit change in adolescent RAPI were analysed. Twin pairs discordant for both adolescent RAPI and adult diagnoses permitted within-family replications for the full sample and separately by sex.
Nearly half the interviewed twins met diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependency (46.2%) or abuse (1.5%). Age 18 RAPI scores significantly correlated with diagnoses (0.52) and symptom counts (0.55). ROC analysis found a 74% probability that adolescent RAPI scores will be higher among those with an alcohol diagnosis at age 25 than for those without. The odds ratio of outcome alcohol diagnosis per unit increase in adolescent 18 RAPI exceeded 10.0. Within-family comparisons of 117 twin pairs discordant for both age 18 RAPI and age 25 alcohol diagnoses replicated the between-family associations. In both between-family and within-family analyses, RAPI was more predictive of alcohol diagnoses among females.
Our results offer evidence, including that from informative comparisons of co-twins discordant for both predictor and outcome, that RAPI scores in late adolescence robustly predict alcohol diagnoses in early adulthood. Accordingly, our results also provide new evidence that one pathway to problem drinking in early adulthood is a direct one from problem drinking in adolescence.
Rutgers Alcohol Problems Index; Predicting Alcohol Diagnosis; Co-Twin Control Method
Despite effective therapies for smoking cessation, most smokers find quitting difficult and most successful quitters relapse. Considerable evidence supports a genetic risk for nicotine dependence; however, less is known about the pharmacogenetics of smoking cessation. In the first pharmacogenetic investigation of the efficacy of varenicline and bupropion, we examined whether genes important in the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of these drugs and nicotine predict medication efficacy and adverse events. Subjects participated in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled smoking cessation clinical trials, comparing varenicline, a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) partial agonist, with bupropion, a norepinephrine/dopamine reuptake inhibitor, and placebo. Primary analysis included 1175 smokers of European ancestry, and 785 single nucleotide polymorphisms from 24 genes, representing 254 linkage disequilibrium (LD) bins (genes included nAChR subunits, additional varenicline-specific genes, and genes involved in nicotine or bupropion metabolism). For varenicline, continuous abstinence (weeks 9–12) was associated with multiple nAChR subunit genes (including CHRNB2, CHRNA5, and CHRNA4) (OR=1.76; 95% CI: 1.23–2.52) (p<0.005); for bupropion, abstinence was associated with CYP2B6 (OR=1.78; 95% CI: 1.27–2.50) (p<0.001). Incidence of nausea was associated with several nAChR subunit genes (OR=0.50; 95% CI: 0.36–0.70) (p<0.0001) and time to relapse after quitting was associated with HTR3B (HR=1.97; 95% CI: 1.45–2.68) (p<0.0001). These data provide evidence for multiple genetic loci contributing to smoking cessation and therapeutic response. Different loci are associated with varenicline vs bupropion response, suggesting that additional research may identify clinically useful markers to guide treatment decisions.
varenicline; bupropion; pharmacogenetics; nicotine; nicotinic receptor; CYP2B6; pharmacogenetics/pharmacogenomics; addiction and substance abuse; clinical pharmacology/clinical trials; neuropharmacology; varenicline; bupropion; nicotine; smoking cessation; nicotinic receptors
Several theories have been proposed to conceptualize the pathological processes inherent to schizophrenia. The 'prostaglandin deficiency' hypothesis postulates that defective enzyme systems converting essential fatty acids to prostaglandins lead to diminished levels of prostaglandins, which in turn affect synaptic transmission.
Here we sought to determine the lipidomic profiles associated with schizophrenia in twin pairs discordant for schizophrenia as well as unaffected twin pairs. The study included serum samples from 19 twin pairs discordant for schizophrenia (mean age 51 ± 10 years; 7 monozygotic pairs; 13 female pairs) and 34 age and gender matched healthy twins as controls. Neurocognitive assessment data and gray matter density measurements taken from high-resolution magnetic resonance images were also obtained. A lipidomics platform using ultra performance liquid chromatography coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry was applied for the analysis of serum samples.
In comparison to their healthy co-twins, the patients had elevated triglycerides and were more insulin resistant. They had diminished lysophosphatidylcholine levels, which associated with decreased cognitive speed.
Our findings may be of pathophysiological relevance since lysophosphatidylcholines, byproducts of phospholipase A2-catalyzed phospholipid hydrolysis, are preferred carriers of polyunsaturated fatty acids across the blood-brain barrier. Furthermore, diminishment of lysophosphatidylcholines suggests that subjects at risk of schizophrenia may be more susceptible to infections. Their association with cognitive speed supports the view that altered neurotransmission in schizophrenia may be in part mediated by reactive lipids such as prostaglandins.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of fat mass (FM) and lean mass (LM) with bone mineral density (BMD) independent of genetic effects. We also assessed the extent to which genetic and environmental influences explain the associations between these phenotypes. Body composition and BMD were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in 57 monozygotic and 92 same-sex dizygotic twin pairs, aged 23 to 31 years, chosen to represent a wide range of intrapair differences in body mass index (BMI; 0 to 15.2 kg/m2). Heritability estimates were adjusted for height and gender. In multiple linear regression analysis, intrapair differences in both FM and LM were independently associated with intrapair differences in BMD at most skeletal sites after adjustment for gender and differences in height. Within monozygotic and dizygotic pairs, LM was a significantly stronger predictor of whole-body BMD than FM (p < .01). Additive genetic factors explained 87% [95% confidence interval (CI) 80%–91%), 81% (95% CI 70%–88%), and 61% (95% CI 41%–75%) of the variation in whole-body BMD, LM, and FM, respectively. Additive genetic factors also accounted for 69% to 88% of the covariance between LM and BMD and for 42% to 72% of the covariance between FM and BMD depending on the skeletal site. The genetic correlation between LM and whole-body BMD (rg = 0.46, 95% CI 0.32–0.58) was greater than that of FM and whole-body BMD (rg = 0.25, 95% CI 0.05–0.42). In conclusion, our data indicate that peak BMD is influenced by acquired body weight as well as genetic factors. In young adulthood, LM and BMD may have more genes in common than do FM and BMD. © 2011 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
BONE MINERAL DENSITY; FAT MASS; LEAN MASS; TWIN STUDIES; GENETIC CORRELATION
A cost-efficient way to increase power in a genetic association study is to pool controls from different sources. The genotyping effort can then be directed to large case series. The Nordic Control database, NordicDB, has been set up as a unique resource in the Nordic area and the data are available for authorized users through the web portal (http://www.nordicdb.org). The current version of NordicDB pools together high-density genome-wide SNP information from ∼5000 controls originating from Finnish, Swedish and Danish studies and shows country-specific allele frequencies for SNP markers. The genetic homogeneity of the samples was investigated using multidimensional scaling (MDS) analysis and pairwise allele frequency differences between the studies. The plot of the first two MDS components showed excellent resemblance to the geographical placement of the samples, with a clear NW–SE gradient. We advise researchers to assess the impact of population structure when incorporating NordicDB controls in association studies. This harmonized Nordic database presents a unique genome-wide resource for future genetic association studies in the Nordic countries.
common controls; genome-wide data; Nordic Control Database; population stratification
Studies of singletons suggest that right-handed individuals may have higher levels of testosterone than do left-handed individuals. Prenatal testosterone levels are hypothesised to be especially related to handedness formation. In humans, female members from opposite-sex twin pairs may experience elevated level of prenatal exposure to testosterone in their intra-uterine environment shared with a male. We tested for differences in rates of left-handedness/right-handedness in female twins from same-sex and opposite-sex twin pairs. Our sample consisted of 4736 subjects, about 70% of all Finnish twins born in 1983–1987, with information on measured pregnancy and birth related factors. Circulating testosterone and estradiol levels at age 14 were available on 771 and 744 of these twins, respectively. We found significantly (p<.006) lower prevalence of left-handedness in females from opposite-sex pairs (5.3%) compared to females from same-sex pairs (8.6%). The circulating levels of neither testosterone nor estradiol related to handedness in either females or males. Nor were there differences in circulating testosterone or estradiol levels between females from opposite-sex and same-sex twin pairs. Birth and pregnancy related factors for which we had information were unrelated to handedness. Our results are difficult to fully explain by postnatal factors, but they offer support to theory that relates testosterone to formation of handedness, and in a population-based sample, are suggestive of effects of prenatal testosterone transfer.
laterality; masculinisation; prenatal testosterone transfer; sex difference; testosterone
Impulsivity, describing action without foresight, is an important feature of several psychiatric diseases, suicidality and violent behavior. The complex origins of impulsivity hinder identification of the genes influencing both it and diseases with which it is associated. We performed exon-centric sequencing of impulsive individuals in a founder population, targeting fourteen genes belonging to the serotonin and dopamine domain. A stop codon in HTR2B that is common (MAF >1%) but exclusive to Finns was identified. Expression of the gene in the human brain was assessed, as well as the molecular functionality of the stop codon that was associated with psychiatric diseases marked by impulsivity in both population and family-based analyses. Knockout of Htr2b increased impulsive behaviors in mice, indicative of predictive validity. Our study shows the potential for identifying and tracing effects of rare alleles in complex behavioral phenotypes using founder populations, and suggests a role for HTR2B in impulsivity.
Previous studies of risk factors for disability pension (DP) have mainly focused on psychosocial, or environmental, factors, while the relative importance of genetic effects has been less studied. Sex differences in biological mechanisms have not been investigated at all.
The study sample included 46,454 Swedish twins, consisting of 23,227 complete twin pairs, born 1928–1958, who were followed during 1993–2008. Data on DP, including diagnoses, were obtained from the National Social Insurance Agency. Within-pair similarity in liability to DP was assessed by calculating intraclass correlations. Genetic and environmental influences on liability to DP were estimated by applying discrete-time frailty modeling.
During follow-up, 7,669 individuals were granted DP (18.8% women and 14.1% men). Intraclass correlations were generally higher in MZ pairs than DZ pairs, while DZ same-sexed pairs were more similar than opposite-sexed pairs. The best-fitting model indicated that genetic factors contributed 49% (95% CI: 39–59) to the variance in DP due to mental diagnoses, 35% (95% CI: 29–41) due to musculoskeletal diagnoses, and 27% (95% CI: 20–33) due to all other diagnoses. In both sexes, genetic effects common to all ages explained one-third, whereas age-specific factors almost two-thirds, of the total variance in liability to DP irrespective of diagnosis. Sex differences in liability to DP were indicated, in that partly different sets of genes were found to operate in women and men, even though the magnitude of genetic variance explained was equal for both sexes.
The findings of the study suggest that genetic effects are important for liability to DP due to different diagnoses. Moreover, genetic contributions to liability to DP tend to differ between women and men, even though the overall relative contribution of genetic influences does not differ by sex. Hence, the pathways leading to DP might differ between women and men.