There is converging evidence for genetic, biochemical, and neuropsychological factors to increase the risk for anxiety and anxiety disorders. The pathogenesis of anxiety disorders is assumed to be influenced by a complex interaction of these individual risk factors on several levels, affecting intermediate phenotypes of anxiety such as the startle reflex. Thus, in the present double-blind, placebo-controlled study we attempted to paradigmatically investigate a multi-level pathogenetic model of anxiety by testing the effect of 300 mg caffeine citrate as an antagonist at the adenosine A2A receptor vs placebo on the emotion-potentiated (unpleasant, neutral, and pleasant International Affective Picture System pictures) startle reflex in 110 healthy individuals (male=56, female=54) stratified for the adenosine A2A receptor (ADORA2A) 1976T>C polymorphism (rs5751876). In addition to the expected main effect of picture category (highest startle amplitude for unpleasant, lowest for pleasant pictures) groups across all ADORA2A 1976T>C genotype and intervention (caffeine vs placebo) groups, an interaction effect of genotype, intervention, and picture category was discerned: In ADORA2A 1976TT risk genotype carriers, highest startle magnitudes were observed after caffeine administration in response to unpleasant pictures, with this effect arising particularly from the female subgroup. Our data point to a complex, multi-level, and potentially gender-specific pathogenetic model of anxiety, with genetic and biochemical factors interactively increasing the risk of maladaptive emotional processing and thereby possibly also anxiety disorders. The present findings may eventually aid in improving primary and secondary prevention by sharpening the risk profiles of anxiety-prone individuals.
adenosine; caffeine; ADORA2A; panic disorder; emotional processing; startle; mood; anxiety; stress disorders; neurogenetics; neurophysiology; adenosine; caffeine; ADORA2A; panic disorder; emotional processing
Abnormalities of motivation and behavior in the context of reward are a fundamental component of addiction and mood disorders. Here we test the effect of a functional missense mutation in the dopamine 3 receptor (DRD3) gene (ser9gly, rs6280) on reward-associated dopamine (DA) release in the striatum. Twenty-six healthy controls (HCs) and 10 unmedicated subjects with major depressive disorder (MDD) completed two positron emission tomography (PET) scans with [11C]raclopride using the bolus plus constant infusion method. On one occasion subjects completed a sensorimotor task (control condition) and on another occasion subjects completed a gambling task (reward condition). A linear regression analysis controlling for age, sex, diagnosis, and self-reported anhedonia indicated that during receipt of unpredictable monetary reward the glycine allele was associated with a greater reduction in D2/3 receptor binding (i.e., increased reward-related DA release) in the middle (anterior) caudate (p<0.01) and the ventral striatum (p<0.05). The possible functional effect of the ser9gly polymorphism on DA release is consistent with previous work demonstrating that the glycine allele yields D3 autoreceptors that have a higher affinity for DA and display more robust intracellular signaling. Preclinical evidence indicates that chronic stress and aversive stimulation induce activation of the DA system, raising the possibility that the glycine allele, by virtue of its facilitatory effect on striatal DA release, increases susceptibility to hyperdopaminergic responses that have previously been associated with stress, addiction, and psychosis.
The use of clinical features to define subtypes of a disorder may aid in gene identification for complex diseases. In particular, clinical subtypes of mania may distinguish phenotypic subgroups of bipolar subjects that may also differ genetically. To assess this possibility, we performed a genome-wide association study using genotype data from the Bipolar Genome Study (BiGS) and subjects that were categorized as having either irritable or elated mania during their most severe episode. A bipolar case-only analysis in the GAIN bipolar sample identified several genomic regions that differed between irritable and elated subjects, the most significant of which was for 33 SNPs on chromosome 13q31 (peak p = 2×10−7). This broad peak is in a relative gene desert over an unknown EST and between the SLITRK1 and SLITRK6 genes. Evidence for association to this region came predominantly from subjects in the sample that were originally collected as part of a family-based bipolar linkage study, rather than those collected as bipolar singletons. We then genotyped an additional sample of bipolar singleton cases and controls, and the analysis of irritable vs. elated mania in this new sample did not replicate our previous findings. However, this lack of replication is likely due to the presence of significant differences in terms of clinical co-morbity that were identified between these singleton bipolar cases and those that were selected from families segregating the disorder. Despite these clinical differences, analysis of the combined sample provided continued support for 13q31 and other regions from our initial analysis. Though genome-wide significance was not achieved, our results suggest that irritable mania results from a distinct set of genes, including a region on chromosome 13q31.
The nonapeptide oxytocin (OXT) and its receptor (OXTR) have been implicated in social cognition, empathy, emotion and stress regulation in humans. Previous studies reported associations between OXT and OXTR genetic polymorphisms and risk for disorders characterized by impaired socio-emotional functioning, such as schizophrenia and autism. Here we investigate the influence of two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the OXTR gene on a measure of socio-emotional functioning in schizophrenic patients. OXTR SNPs that were previously investigated in other studies were genotyped in 145 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia according to DSM-IV and 145 healthy controls matched for age and gender. The Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) was used to assess cognitive (‘perspective taking’), affective (‘empathic concern’) and self-related (‘personal distress’) dimensions of empathy. No group differences in genotype frequencies were observed. MANCOVA revealed a significant main (F [1,282] = 10.464; p<0.01) and interaction effect (genotype by diagnosis: F [1,282] = 4.329; p<0.05) of OXTR SNP rs2254298(A>GG) with ‘empathic concern’. Within the schizophrenia group, linear regression analysis determined OXTR rs2254298 genotype, PANSS negative and general symptom score, and age of disease onset as being significantly associated with ‘empathic concern’. OXTR rs2254298 significantly impacted PANSS general psychopathology scores. No associations were found for OXTR rs53576, IRI ‘perspective taking’ or ‘personal distress’ ratings. Our preliminary findings support hypotheses about an involvement of OXTR rs2254298 in emotional empathy in schizophrenic and healthy individuals, warranting independent replication.
Although bipolar disorder has high heritability, the onset occurs during several decades of life, suggesting that social and environmental factors may have considerable influence on disease onset. This study examined the association between the age of onset and sunlight at the location of onset.
Data were obtained from 2414 patients with a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder, according to DSM-IV criteria. Data were collected at 24 sites in 13 countries spanning latitudes 6.3 to 63.4 degrees from the equator, including data from both hemispheres. The age of onset and location of onset were obtained retrospectively, from patient records and/or direct interviews. Solar insolation data, or the amount of electromagnetic energy striking the surface of the earth, were obtained from the NASA Surface Meteorology and Solar Energy (SSE) database for each location of onset.
The larger the maximum monthly increase in solar insolation at the location of onset, the younger the age of onset (coefficient= −4.724, 95% CI: −8.124 to −1.323, p = 0.006), controlling for each country’s median age. The maximum monthly increase in solar insolation occurred in springtime. No relationships were found between the age of onset and latitude, yearly total solar insolation, and the maximum monthly decrease in solar insolation. The largest maximum monthly increases in solar insolation occurred in diverse environments, including Norway, arid areas in California, and Chile.
The large maximum monthly increase in sunlight in springtime may have an important influence on the onset of bipolar disorder.
PMID: 22612720 CAMSID: cams2451
age of onset; bipolar disorder; solar insolation; sunlight
The Prevalence and persistence of ADHD have not been described in young Australian adults and few studies have examined how conduct problems (CP) are associated with ADHD for this age group. We estimate lifetime and adult prevalence and persistence rates for three categories of ADHD for 3795 Australian adults, and indicate how career, health and childhood risk factors differ for people with ADHD symptoms and ADHD symptoms plus CP.
Trained interviewers collected participant experience of ADHD, CP, education, employment, childhood experience, relationship and health variables. Three diagnostic definitions of ADHD used were (i) full DSM-IV criteria; (ii) excluding the age 7 onset criterion (no age criterion); (iii) participant experienced difficulties due to ADHD symptoms (problem symptoms).
Prevalence rates in adulthood were 1.1%, 2.3% and 2.7% for each categorization respectively. Persistence of ADHD from childhood averaged across gender was 55.3% for full criteria, 50.3% with no age criterion and 40.2% for problem symptoms. ADHD symptoms were associated with parental conflict, poor health, being sexually assaulted during childhood, lower education, income loss and higher unemployment. The lifetime prevalence of conduct problems for adults with ADHD was 57.8% and 6.9% for adults without ADHD. The greatest disadvantage was experienced by participants with ADHD plus CP.
The persistence of ADHD into adulthood was greatest for participants meeting full diagnostic criteria and inattention was associated with the greatest loss of income and disadvantage. The disadvantage associated with conduct problems differed in severity and was relevant for a high proportion of adults with ADHD. Women but not men with ADHD reported more childhood adversity, possibly indicating varied etiology and treatment needs. The impact and treatment needs of adults with ADHD and CP and the report of sexual assault during childhood by women and men with ADHD also deserve further study.
Several linkage analyses implicated the chromosome 9q22 region in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopmental disease with remarkable persistence into adulthood. This locus contains the brain-expressed GTP-binding RAS-like 2 gene (DIRAS2) thought to regulate neurogenesis. As DIRAS2 is a positional and functional ADHD candidate gene, we conducted an association study in 600 patients suffering from adult ADHD (aADHD) and 420 controls. Replication samples consisted of 1035 aADHD patients and 1381 controls, as well as 166 families with a child affected from childhood ADHD. Given the high degree of co-morbidity with ADHD, we also investigated patients suffering from bipolar disorder (BD) (n=336) or personality disorders (PDs) (n=622). Twelve single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) covering the structural gene and the transcriptional control region of DIRAS2 were analyzed. Four SNPs and two haplotype blocks showed evidence of association with ADHD, with nominal p-values ranging from p=0.006 to p=0.05. In the adult replication samples, we obtained a consistent effect of rs1412005 and of a risk haplotype containing the promoter region (p=0.026). Meta-analysis resulted in a significant common OR of 1.12 (p=0.04) for rs1412005 and confirmed association with the promoter risk haplotype (OR=1.45, p=0.0003). Subsequent analysis in nuclear families with childhood ADHD again showed an association of the promoter haplotype block (p=0.02). rs1412005 also increased risk toward BD (p=0.026) and cluster B PD (p=0.031). Additional SNPs showed association with personality scores (p=0.008–0.048). Converging lines of evidence implicate genetic variance in the promoter region of DIRAS2 in the etiology of ADHD and co-morbid impulsive disorders.
adult ADHD; linkage; genome-wide association; ras pathway; association study; bipolar disorder; biological psychiatry; neurogenetics; depression; unipolar/bipolar; development/developmental disorders; adult ADHD; linkage; genome-wide association study; ras pathway
Serotonergic system participates in a wide range of physiological processes and behaviors, but its role is generally considered as modulatory and noncrucial, especially concerning life-sustaining functions. We recently created a transgenic mouse line in which a functional deficit in serotonin homeostasis due to excessive serotonin autoinhibition was produced by inducing serotonin 1A receptor (Htr1a) overexpression selectively in serotonergic neurons (Htr1a raphe-overexpressing or Htr1aRO mice). Htr1aRO mice exhibit episodes of autonomic dysregulation, cardiovascular crises and death, resembling those of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and revealing a life-supporting role of serotonergic system in autonomic control. Since midbrain serotonergic neurons are chemosensitive and are implicated in arousal we hypothesized that their chemosensitivity might be impaired in Htr1aRO mice.
Loose-seal cell-attached recordings in brainstem slices revealed that serotonergic neurons in dorsal raphe nucleus of Htr1aRO mice have dramatically reduced responses to hypercapnic challenge as compared with control littermates. In control mice, application of 9% CO2 produced an increase in firing rate of serotonergic neurons (0.260±0.041 Hz, n = 20, p = 0.0001) and application of 3% CO2 decreased their firing rate (−0.142±0.025 Hz, n = 17, p = 0.0008). In contrast, in Htr1aRO mice, firing rate of serotonergic neurons was not significantly changed by 9% CO2 (0.021±0.034 Hz, n = 16, p = 0.49) and by 3% CO2 (0.012±0.046 Hz, n = 12, p = 0.97).
Our findings support the hypothesis that chemosensitivity of midbrain serotonergic neurons provides a physiological mechanism for arousal responses to life-threatening episodes of hypercapnia and that functional impairment, such as excessive autoinhibition, of midbrain serotonergic neuron responses to hypercapnia may contribute to sudden death.
Recently, several genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on bipolar disorder (BPD) suggested novel risk genes. However, only few of them were followed up and further, the specificity of these genes is even more elusive. To address these issues, we genotyped SNPs in ANK3, CACNA1C, CMTM8, DGKH, EGFR, and NPAS3, which were significantly associated with BPD in previous GWAS, in a sample of 380 BPD patients. Replicated SNPs were then followed up in patients suffering from unipolar depression (UPD; n=387) or adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (aADHD; n=535). While we could not confirm an association of ANK3, CACNA1C, and EGFR with BPD, 10 SNPs in DGKH, CMTM8, and NPAS3 were nominally associated with disease, with two DGKH markers surviving correction for multiple testing. When these were followed up in UPD and aADHD, seven DGKH SNPs were also associated with UPD, while one SNP each in NPAS3 and CMTM8 and four in DGKH were linked to aADHD. Furthermore, a DGKH haplotype consisting of rs994856/rs9525580/rs9525584 GAT was associated with all disorders tested, while the complementary AGC haplotype was protective. The corresponding haploblock spans a 27-kb region covering exons coding for amino acids 65–243, and thus might include functional variants yet to be identified. We demonstrate an association of DGKH with BPD, UPD, and aADHD by applying a two-stage design. These disorders share the feature of mood instability, so that this phenotype might be associated with genetic variation in DGKH.
association; bipolar disorder; depression; adult ADHD; NPAS3; CMTM8; depression; unipolar/bipolar; neurogenetics; signal transduction; biological psychiatry; association; adult ADHD; NPAS3; CMTM8; EGFR
The endocannabinoid (eCB) system is implicated in several psychiatric disorders. Investigating emotional–motivational dysfunctions as underlying mechanisms, a study in humans revealed that in the C385A polymorphism of the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the degrading enzyme of the eCB anandamide (AEA), A carriers, who are characterized by increased signaling of AEA as compared to C/C carriers, exhibited reduced brain reactivity towards unpleasant faces and enhanced reactivity towards reward. However, the association of eCB system with emotional–motivational reactivity is complex and bidirectional due to upcoming compensatory processes.
Therefore, we further investigated the relationship of the FAAH polymorphism and emotional–motivational reactivity in humans.
We assessed the affect-modulated startle, and ratings of valence and arousal in response to higher arousing pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant pictures in 67 FAAH C385AC/C carriers and 45 A carriers.
Contrarily to the previous functional MRI study, A carriers compared to C/C carriers exhibited an increased startle potentiation and therefore emotional responsiveness towards unpleasant picture stimuli and reduced startle inhibition indicating reduced emotional reactivity in response to pleasant pictures, while both groups did not differ in ratings of arousal and valence.
Our findings emphasize the bidirectionality and thorough examination of the eCB system’s impact on emotional reactivity as a central endophenotype underlying various psychiatric disorders.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00213-012-2785-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
FAAH; Genetics; Endocannabinoid; Emotion; Startle reflex
The etiology of emotion-related disorders such as anxiety or affective disorders is considered to be complex with an interaction of biological and environmental factors. Particular evidence has accumulated for alterations in the dopaminergic and noradrenergic system – partly conferred by catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene variation – for the adenosinergic system as well as for early life trauma to constitute risk factors for those conditions. Applying a multi-level approach, in a sample of 95 healthy adults, we investigated effects of the functional COMT Val158Met polymorphism, caffeine as an adenosine A2A receptor antagonist (300 mg in a placebo-controlled intervention design) and childhood maltreatment (CTQ) as well as their interaction on the affect-modulated startle response as a neurobiologically founded defensive reflex potentially related to fear- and distress-related disorders. COMT val/val genotype significantly increased startle magnitude in response to unpleasant stimuli, while met/met homozygotes showed a blunted startle response to aversive pictures. Furthermore, significant gene-environment interaction of COMT Val158Met genotype with CTQ was discerned with more maltreatment being associated with higher startle potentiation in val/val subjects but not in met carriers. No main effect of or interaction effects with caffeine were observed. Results indicate a main as well as a GxE effect of the COMT Val158Met variant and childhood maltreatment on the affect-modulated startle reflex, supporting a complex pathogenetic model of the affect-modulated startle reflex as a basic neurobiological defensive reflex potentially related to anxiety and affective disorders.
Hyperactivity is one of the core symptoms in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, it remains unclear in which way the motor system itself and its development are affected by the disorder. Movement-related potentials (MRP) can separate different stages of movement execution, from the programming of a movement to motor post-processing and memory traces. Pre-movement MRP are absent or positive during early childhood and display a developmental increase of negativity.
We examined the influences of response-speed, an indicator of the level of attention, and stimulant medication on lateralized MRP in 16 children with combined type ADHD compared to 20 matched healthy controls.
We detected a significantly diminished lateralisation of MRP over the pre-motor and primary motor cortex during movement execution (initial motor potential peak, iMP) in patients with ADHD. Fast reactions (indicating increased visuo-motor attention) led to increased lateralized negativity during movement execution only in healthy controls, while in children with ADHD faster reaction times were associated with more positive amplitudes. Even though stimulant medication had some effect on attenuating group differences in lateralized MRP, this effect was insufficient to normalize lateralized iMP amplitudes.
A reduced focal (lateralized) motor cortex activation during the command to muscle contraction points towards an immature motor system and a maturation delay of the (pre-) motor cortex in children with ADHD. A delayed maturation of the neuronal circuitry, which involves primary motor cortex, may contribute to ADHD pathophysiology.
Panic disorder is common (5% prevalence) and females are twice as likely to be affected as males. The heritable component of panic disorder is estimated at 48%. Glutamic acid dehydrogenase GAD1, the key enzyme for the synthesis of the inhibitory and anxiolytic neurotransmitter GABA, is supposed to influence various mental disorders, including mood and anxiety disorders. In a recent association study in depression, which is highly comorbid with panic disorder, GAD1 risk allele associations were restricted to females.
Nineteen single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) tagging the common variation in GAD1 were genotyped in two independent gender and age matched case-control samples (discovery sample n = 478; replication sample n = 584). Thirteen SNPs passed quality control and were examined for gender-specific enrichment of risk alleles associated with panic disorder by using logistic regression including a genotype×gender interaction term. The latter was found to be nominally significant for four SNPs (rs1978340, rs3762555, rs3749034, rs2241165) in the discovery sample; of note, the respective minor/risk alleles were associated with panic disorder only in females. These findings were not confirmed in the replication sample; however, the genotype×gender interaction of rs3749034 remained significant in the combined sample. Furthermore, this polymorphism showed a nominally significant association with the Agoraphobic Cognitions Questionnaire sum score.
The present study represents the first systematic evaluation of gender-specific enrichment of risk alleles of the common SNP variation in the panic disorder candidate gene GAD1. Our tentative results provide a possible explanation for the higher susceptibility of females to panic disorder.
Background: There is increasing evidence that glial cells play a role in the pathomechanisms of mood disorders and the mode of action of antidepressant drugs. Methods: To examine whether there is a direct effect on the expression of different genes encoding proteins that have been implicated in the pathophysiology of affective disorders, primary astrocyte cell cultures from rats were treated with two different antidepressant drugs, imipramine and escitalopram, and the RNA expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf), serotonin transporter (5Htt), dopamine transporter (Dat), and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (Nos3) was examined. Results: Stimulation of astroglial cell culture with imipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant, led to a significant increase of the Bdnf RNA level whereas treatment with escitalopram did not. In contrast, 5Htt was not differentially expressed after antidepressant treatment. Finally, neither Dat nor Nos3 RNA expression was detected in cultured astrocytes. Conclusion: These data provide further evidence for a role of astroglial cells in the molecular mechanisms of action of antidepressants.
antidepressant; mechanism of action; BDNF; nitric oxide synthase; gene expression; depression; glia; astrocytes
The inaccuracy of copy number variation (CNV) detection on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays has recently been brought to attention. Such high error rates will undoubtedly have ramifications on downstream association testing. We examined this effect for a wide range of scenarios and found a noticeable decrease in power for error rates typical of CNV calling algorithms. We compared power using CNV calls to the log relative ratio and found the latter to be superior when error rates are moderate to large or when the CNV size is small. It is our recommendation that CNV researchers use intensity measurements as an alternative to CNV calls in these scenarios.
Basing on the assumption that frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (BPD) might share common aetiological mechanisms, we analyzed genetic variation in the FTLD risk gene progranulin (GRN) in a German population of patients with schizophrenia (n = 271) or BPD (n = 237) as compared with 574 age-, gender- and ethnicity-matched controls. Furthermore, we measured plasma progranulin levels in 26 German BPD patients as well as in 61 Italian BPD patients and 29 matched controls.
A significantly decreased allelic frequency of the minor versus the wild-type allele was observed for rs2879096 (23.2 versus 34.2%, P<0.001, OR:0.63, 95%CI:0.49–0.80), rs4792938 (30.7 versus 39.7%, P = 0.005, OR: 0.70, 95%CI: 0.55–0.89) and rs5848 (30.3 versus 36.8, P = 0.007, OR: 0.71, 95%CI: 0.56–0.91). Mean±SEM progranulin plasma levels were significantly decreased in BPD patients, either Germans or Italians, as compared with controls (89.69±3.97 and 116.14±5.80 ng/ml, respectively, versus 180.81±18.39 ng/ml P<0.001) and were not correlated with age.
In conclusion, GRN variability decreases the risk to develop BPD and schizophrenia, and progranulin plasma levels are significantly lower in BPD patients than in controls. Nevertheless, a larger replication analysis would be needed to confirm these preliminary results.
Early stressful events can increase vulnerability for psychopathology, although knowledge on the effectors is still limited. In this report we describe the characterization of a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in rhesus macaques, which results in a Val to Met transition in the pro-BDNF domain, similar to a well described variant in the human gene. Further, we tested the hypothesis that peripheral levels of BDNF, which is involved in the response to stress and in the pathophysiology of anxiety and depression, might be differentially affected in a non-human primate model of early adverse rearing in a genotype-dependent manner. Males and females rhesus macaques reared either with their mothers (MR), in peer-only groups (PR), or in a “surrogate/peer-reared” (SPR) condition with limited peer interactions, were used as experimental subjects. BDNF levels were determined at baseline on postnatal days (PND) 14, 30 and 60 by means of specific ELISA procedure. Data indicate that BDNF levels were increased as a result of peer-rearing and that this increase was moderated by the presence of the SNP. Overall these data indicate that a SNP, which results in a Val to Met transition in the pro-BDNF domain, is present in rhesus macaques and is able to affect BDNF peripheral levels, thus making this primate model a fundamental tool to study gene by environment interactions involving the BDNF gene.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF); polymorphism; stress; depression; non-human primates
The serotonergic neurotransmitter system is closely linked to depression and personality traits. It is not known if selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) have an effect on neuroticism that is independent of their effect on depression. Healthy individuals with a genetic liability for depression represent a group of particular interest when investigating if intervention with SSRIs affects personality. The present trial is the first to test the hypothesis that escitalopram may reduce neuroticism in healthy first-degree relatives of patients with major depressive disorder (MD).
The trial used a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled parallel-group design. We examined the effect of four weeks escitalopram 10 mg daily versus matching placebo on personality in 80 people who had a biological parent or sibling with a history of MD. The outcome measure on personality traits was change in self-reported neuroticism scores on the Revised Neuroticism-Extroversion-Openness-Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPQ) from entry until end of four weeks of intervention.
When compared with placebo, escitalopram did not significantly affect self-reported NEO-PI-R and EPQ neuroticism and extroversion, EPQ psychoticism, NEO-PI-R openness, or NEO-PI-R conscientiousness (p all above 0.05). However, escitalopram increased NEO-PI-R agreeableness scores significantly compared with placebo (mean; SD) (2.38; 8.09) versus (−1.32; 7.94), p = 0.046), but not following correction for multiplicity. A trend was shown for increased conscientiousness (p = 0.07). There was no significant effect on subclinical depressive symptoms (p = 0.6).
In healthy first-degree relatives of patients with MD, there is no effect of escitalopram on neuroticism, but it is possible that escitalopram may increase the personality traits of agreeableness and conscientiousness.
Bipolar disorder is a severe psychiatric disorder with high heritability. Co-morbid conditions are common and might define latent subgroups of patients that are more homogeneous with respect to genetic risk factors.
In the Caucasian GAIN bipolar disorder sample of 1000 cases and 1034 controls, we tested the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms with patient subgroups defined by co-morbidity.
Bipolar disorder with psychosis and/or substance abuse in the absence of alcohol dependence was associated with the rare variant rs1039002 in the vicinity of the gene phosphodiesterase 10A (PDE10A) on chromosome 6q27 (p = 1.7×10−8). PDE10A has been implicated in the pathophysiology of psychosis. Antagonists to the encoded protein are currently in clinical testing. Another rare variant, rs12563333 (p = 5.9×10−8) on chromosome 1q41 close to the MAP/microtubule affinity-regulating kinase 1 (MARK1) gene, approached the genome-wide level of significance in this subgroup. Homozygotes for the minor allele were present in cases and absent in controls. Bipolar disorder with alcohol dependence and other co-morbidities was associated with SNP rs2727943 (p = 3.3×10−8) on chromosome 3p26.3 located between the genes contactin-4 precursor (BIG-2) and contactin 6 (CNTN6). All three associations were found under the recessive genetic model. Bipolar disorder with low probability of co-morbid conditions did not show significant associations.
Conceptualizing bipolar disorder as a heterogeneous disorder with regard to co-morbid conditions might facilitate the identification of genetic risk alleles. Rare variants might contribute to the susceptibility to bipolar disorder.
Recent studies as well as theoretical models of error processing assign fundamental importance to the brain's dopaminergic system. Research about how the electrophysiological correlates of error processing—the error-related negativity (ERN) and the error positivity (Pe)—are influenced by variations of common dopaminergic genes, however, is still relatively scarce. In the present study, we therefore investigated whether polymorphisms in the DAT1 gene and in the DRD4 gene, respectively, lead to interindividual differences in these error processing correlates. One hundred sixty participants completed a version of the Eriksen Flanker Task while a 26-channel EEG was recorded. The task was slightly modified in order to increase error rates. During data analysis, participants were split into two groups depending on their DAT1 and their DRD4 genotypes, respectively. ERN and Pe amplitudes after correct responses and after errors as well as difference amplitudes between errors and correct responses were analyzed. We found a differential effect of DAT1 genotype on the Pe difference amplitude but not on the ERN difference amplitude, while the reverse was true for DRD4 genotype. These findings are in line with predictions from theoretical models of dopaminergic transmission in the brain. They furthermore tie results from clinical investigations of disorders impacting on the dopamine system to genetic variations known to be at-risk genotypes.
Studies provide ample evidence for a dysfunction in dopaminergic neurotransmission in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In that respect, a common variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) polymorphism in the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of the dopamine transporter gene (SLC6A3) has been repeatedly associated with the disorder. Here, we examined the influence of the common 9- and 10-repeat alleles of SLC6A3 on prefrontal brain functioning and cognitive response control in a large sample of adult ADHD patients (n=161) and healthy controls (n=109). To this end, we inspected a neurophysiological marker of cognitive response control (NoGo anteriorization, NGA) elicited by means of a Go-NoGo task (continuous performance test, CPT). Within the group of ADHD patients, nine-repeat allele carriers showed significantly reduced NGA, whereas no influence of SLC6A3 genotype was observed in the control group. In contrast to previous association studies of children, the nine-repeat—not the 10-repeat—allele was associated with functional impairments in our sample of adult ADHD patients. Our findings confirm a significant effect of the SLC6A3 genotype on the neurophysiological correlates of cognitive response control in ADHD, and indicate that still to-be-identified age-related factors are important variables modulating the effect of genetic factors on endophenotypes.
ADHD; dopamine; SLC6A3; continuous performance test; NoGo anteriorization; imaging genetics; biological psychiatry; dopamine; imaging, clinical or preclinical; psychiatry and behavioral sciences; ADHD; continuous performance test; NoGo anteriorization; cognitive response control; imaging genetics
Although twin and family studies have shown Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to be highly heritable, genetic variants influencing the trait at a genome-wide significant level have yet to be identified. As prior genome-wide association scans (GWAS) have not yielded significant results, we conducted a meta-analysis of existing studies to boost statistical power.
We used data from four projects: a) the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), b) phase I of the International Multicenter ADHD Genetics project (IMAGE), c) phase II of IMAGE (IMAGE II), and d) the Pfizer funded study from the University of California, Los Angeles, Washington University and the Massachusetts General Hospital (PUWMa). The final sample size consisted of 2,064 trios, 896 cases and 2,455 controls. For each study, we imputed HapMap SNPs, computed association test statistics and transformed them to Z-scores, and then combined weighted Z-scores in a meta-analysis.
No genome-wide significant associations were found, although an analysis of candidate genes suggests they may be involved in the disorder.
Given that ADHD is a highly heritable disorder, our negative results suggest that the effects of common ADHD risk variants must, individually, be very small or that other types of variants, e.g. rare ones, account for much of the disorder’s heritability.
ADHD; meta-analysis; association; GWAS; genetics
Although twin and family studies have shown attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to be highly heritable, genetic variants influencing the trait at a genome-wide significant level have yet to be identified. Thus, additional genomewide association studies (GWAS) are needed.
We used case-control analyses of 896 cases with DSM-IV ADHD genotyped using the Affymetrix 5.0 array and 2,455 repository controls screened for psychotic and bipolar symptoms genotyped using Affymetrix 6.0 arrays. A consensus SNP set was imputed using BEAGLE 3.0, resulting in an analysis dataset of 1,033,244 SNPs. The data were analyzed using a generalized linear model.
No genome-wide significant associations were found. The most significant results implicated the following genes: PRKG1, FLNC, TCERG1L, PPM1H, NXPH1, PPM1H, CDH13, HK1 and HKDC1.
The current analyses are a useful addition to the present literature and will make a valuable contribution to future meta-analyses. The candidate gene findings are consistent with a prior meta-analysis in suggesting that the effects of ADHD risk variants must, individually, be very small and/or include multiple rare alleles.
ADHD; genetics; genome-wide association; imputation
Sexual activity and partner intimacy results in several positive consequences in the context of stress-coping, both in males and females, such as reduced state anxiety in male rats after successful mating. However, in female rats, mating is a rewarding experience only when the estrous female is able to control sexual interactions, i.e., under paced-mating conditions. Here, we demonstrate that sex-steroid priming required for female mating is anxiolytic; subsequent sexual activity under paced mating conditions did not disrupt this anxiolytic priming effect, whereas mating under unpaced conditions increased anxiety-related behavior. In primed females, the release of the neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) within the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus was found to be elevated and to further increase during paced, but not unpaced mating. Central administration of an OT receptor antagonist partly prevented priming/mating-induced anxiolysis indicating the involvement of brain OT in the anxiolysis triggered by priming and/or sexual activity.
These findings reveal that the positive consequences of mating in females are dependent on her ability to control sexual interactions, and that brain OT release is at least in part the underlying neurobiological correlate.