Publications by authors named "Adam X Maihofer"

55 Publications

Epigenome-wide meta-analysis of PTSD symptom severity in three military cohorts implicates DNA methylation changes in genes involved in immune system and oxidative stress.

Mol Psychiatry 2022 Jan 7. Epub 2022 Jan 7.

Genomics Program, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA.

Epigenetic factors modify the effects of environmental factors on biological outcomes. Identification of epigenetic changes that associate with PTSD is therefore a crucial step in deciphering mechanisms of risk and resilience. In this study, our goal is to identify epigenetic signatures associated with PTSD symptom severity (PTSS) and changes in PTSS over time, using whole blood DNA methylation (DNAm) data (MethylationEPIC BeadChip) of military personnel prior to and following combat deployment. A total of 429 subjects (858 samples across 2 time points) from three male military cohorts were included in the analyses. We conducted two different meta-analyses to answer two different scientific questions: one to identify a DNAm profile of PTSS using a random effects model including both time points for each subject, and the other to identify a DNAm profile of change in PTSS conditioned on pre-deployment DNAm. Four CpGs near four genes (F2R, CNPY2, BAIAP2L1, and TBXAS1) and 88 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) were associated with PTSS. Change in PTSS after deployment was associated with 15 DMRs, of those 2 DMRs near OTUD5 and ELF4 were also associated with PTSS. Notably, three PTSS-associated CpGs near F2R, BAIAP2L1 and TBXAS1 also showed nominal evidence of association with change in PTSS. This study, which identifies PTSD-associated changes in genes involved in oxidative stress and immune system, provides novel evidence that epigenetic differences are associated with PTSS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-021-01398-2DOI Listing
January 2022

Trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder modulate polygenic predictors of hippocampal and amygdala volume.

Transl Psychiatry 2021 Dec 16;11(1):637. Epub 2021 Dec 16.

VA Boston Healthcare System, Jamaica Plain, MA, USA.

The volume of subcortical structures represents a reliable, quantitative, and objective phenotype that captures genetic effects, environmental effects such as trauma, and disease effects such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma and PTSD represent potent exposures that may interact with genetic markers to influence brain structure and function. Genetic variants, associated with subcortical volumes in two large normative discovery samples, were used to compute polygenic scores (PGS) for the volume of seven subcortical structures. These were applied to a target sample enriched for childhood trauma and PTSD. Subcortical volume PGS from the discovery sample were strongly associated in our trauma/PTSD enriched sample (n = 7580) with respective subcortical volumes of the hippocampus (p = 1.10 × 10), thalamus (p = 7.46 × 10), caudate (p = 1.97 × 10), putamen (p = 1.7 × 10), and nucleus accumbens (p = 1.99 × 10). We found a significant association between the hippocampal volume PGS and hippocampal volume in control subjects from our sample, but was absent in individuals with PTSD (GxE; (beta = -0.10, p = 0.027)). This significant GxE (PGS × PTSD) relationship persisted (p < 1 × 10) in four out of five threshold peaks (0.024, 0.133, 0.487, 0.730, and 0.889) used to calculate hippocampal volume PGSs. We detected similar GxE (G × ChildTrauma) relationships in the amygdala for exposure to childhood trauma (rs4702973; p = 2.16 × 10) or PTSD (rs10861272; p = 1.78 × 10) in the CHST11 gene. The hippocampus and amygdala are pivotal brain structures in mediating PTSD symptomatology. Trauma exposure and PTSD modulate the effect of polygenic markers on hippocampal volume (GxE) and the amygdala volume PGS is associated with PTSD risk, which supports the role of amygdala volume as a risk factor for PTSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-021-01707-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8677780PMC
December 2021

Enhancing Discovery of Genetic Variants for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Through Integration of Quantitative Phenotypes and Trauma Exposure Information.

Biol Psychiatry 2021 Sep 28. Epub 2021 Sep 28.

Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts.

Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is heritable and a potential consequence of exposure to traumatic stress. Evidence suggests that a quantitative approach to PTSD phenotype measurement and incorporation of lifetime trauma exposure (LTE) information could enhance the discovery power of PTSD genome-wide association studies (GWASs).

Methods: A GWAS on PTSD symptoms was performed in 51 cohorts followed by a fixed-effects meta-analysis (N = 182,199 European ancestry participants). A GWAS of LTE burden was performed in the UK Biobank cohort (N = 132,988). Genetic correlations were evaluated with linkage disequilibrium score regression. Multivariate analysis was performed using Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS. Functional mapping and annotation of leading loci was performed with FUMA. Replication was evaluated using the Million Veteran Program GWAS of PTSD total symptoms.

Results: GWASs of PTSD symptoms and LTE burden identified 5 and 6 independent genome-wide significant loci, respectively. There was a 72% genetic correlation between PTSD and LTE. PTSD and LTE showed largely similar patterns of genetic correlation with other traits, albeit with some distinctions. Adjusting PTSD for LTE reduced PTSD heritability by 31%. Multivariate analysis of PTSD and LTE increased the effective sample size of the PTSD GWAS by 20% and identified 4 additional loci. Four of these 9 PTSD loci were independently replicated in the Million Veteran Program.

Conclusions: Through using a quantitative trait measure of PTSD, we identified novel risk loci not previously identified using prior case-control analyses. PTSD and LTE have a high genetic overlap that can be leveraged to increase discovery power through multivariate methods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2021.09.020DOI Listing
September 2021

Association of polygenic risk scores, traumatic life events and coping strategies with war-related PTSD diagnosis and symptom severity in the South Eastern Europe (SEE)-PTSD cohort.

J Neural Transm (Vienna) 2021 Nov 27. Epub 2021 Nov 27.

Department of Psychiatry, University Clinical Center, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Objectives: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is triggered by extremely stressful environmental events and characterized by high emotional distress, re-experiencing of trauma, avoidance and hypervigilance. The present study uses polygenic risk scores (PRS) derived from the UK Biobank (UKBB) mega-cohort analysis as part of the PGC PTSD GWAS effort to determine the heritable basis of PTSD in the South Eastern Europe (SEE)-PTSD cohort. We further analyzed the relation between PRS and additional disease-related variables, such as number and intensity of life events, coping, sex and age at war on PTSD and CAPS as outcome variables.

Methods: Association of PRS, number and intensity of life events, coping, sex and age on PTSD were calculated using logistic regression in a total of 321 subjects with current and remitted PTSD and 337 controls previously subjected to traumatic events but not having PTSD. In addition, PRS and other disease-related variables were tested for association with PTSD symptom severity, measured by the Clinician Administrated PTSD Scale (CAPS) by liner regression. To assess the relationship between the main outcomes PTSD diagnosis and symptom severity, each of the examined variables was adjusted for all other PTSD related variables.

Results: The categorical analysis showed significant polygenic risk in patients with remitted PTSD and the total sample, whereas no effects were found on symptom severity. Intensity of life events as well as the individual coping style were significantly associated with PTSD diagnosis in both current and remitted cases. The dimensional analyses showed as association of war-related frequency of trauma with symptom severity, whereas the intensity of trauma yielded significant results independently of trauma timing in current PTSD.

Conclusions: The present PRS application in the SEE-PTSD cohort confirms modest but significant polygenic risk for PTSD diagnosis. Environmental factors, mainly the intensity of traumatic life events and negative coping strategies, yielded associations with PTSD both categorically and dimensionally with more significant p-values. This suggests that, at least in the present cohort of war-related trauma, the association of environmental factors and current individual coping strategies with PTSD psychopathology was stronger than the polygenic risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00702-021-02446-5DOI Listing
November 2021

Correction of depression-associated circadian rhythm abnormalities is associated with lithium response in bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disord 2021 Nov 26. Epub 2021 Nov 26.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Background: Bipolar disorder (BD) is characterized by episodes of depression and mania and disrupted circadian rhythms. Lithium is an effective therapy for BD, but only 30%-40% of patients are fully responsive. Preclinical models show that lithium alters circadian rhythms. However, it is unknown if the circadian rhythm effects of lithium are essential to its therapeutic properties.

Methods: In secondary analyses of a multi-center, prospective, trial of lithium for BD, we examined the relationship between circadian rhythms and therapeutic response to lithium. Using standardized instruments, we measured morningness, diurnal changes in mood, sleep, and energy (circadian rhythm disturbances) in a cross-sectional study of 386 BD subjects with varying lithium exposure histories. Next, we tracked symptoms of depression and mania prospectively over 12 weeks in a subset of 88 BD patients initiating treatment with lithium. Total, circadian, and affective mood symptoms were scored separately and analyzed.

Results: Subjects with no prior lithium exposure had the most circadian disruption, while patients stable on lithium monotherapy had the least. Patients who were stable on lithium with another drug or unstable on lithium showed intermediate levels of disruption. Treatment with lithium for 12 weeks yielded significant reductions in total and affective depression symptoms. Lithium responders (Li-Rs) showed improvement in circadian symptoms of depression, but non-responders did not. There was no difference between Li-Rs and nonresponders in affective, circadian, or total symptoms of mania.

Conclusions: Exposure to lithium is associated with reduced circadian disruption. Lithium response at 12 weeks was selectively associated with the reduction of circadian depressive symptoms. We conclude that stabilization of circadian rhythms may be an important feature of lithium's therapeutic effects. Clinical Trials Registry: NCT0127253.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bdi.13162DOI Listing
November 2021

Reply to: On powerful GWAS in admixed populations.

Nat Genet 2021 12 25;53(12):1634-1635. Epub 2021 Nov 25.

Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-021-00975-zDOI Listing
December 2021

Disentangling sex differences in the shared genetic architecture of posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic experiences, and social support with body size and composition.

Neurobiol Stress 2021 Nov 17;15:100400. Epub 2021 Sep 17.

Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine and VA CT Healthcare Center, West Haven, CT, 06516, USA.

There is a well-known association of traumatic experiences and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with body size and composition, including consistent differences between sexes. However, the biology underlying these associations is unclear. To understand the genetic underpinnings of this complex relationship, we investigated genome-wide datasets informative of African and European ancestries from the Psychiatric Genomic Consortium, the UK Biobank, the GIANT Consortium, and the Million Veteran Program. We used genome-wide association statistics to estimate sex-specific genetic correlations ( ) of traumatic experiences, social support, and PTSD with multiple anthropometric traits. After multiple testing corrections (false discovery rate, FDR q < 0.05), we observed 58 significant relationships in females (e.g., childhood physical abuse and body mass index, BMI  = 0.245, p = 3.88 × 10) and 21 significant relationships in males (e.g., been involved in combat or exposed to warzone and leg fat percentage;  = 0.405, p = 4.42 × 10). We performed causal inference analyses of these genetic overlaps using Mendelian randomization and latent causal variable approaches. Multiple female-specific putative causal relationships were observed linking body composition/size with PTSD (e.g., leg fat percentage→PTSD; beta = 0.319, p = 3.13 × 10), traumatic experiences (e.g., childhood physical abuse→waist circumference; beta = 0.055, p = 5.07 × 10), and childhood neglect (e.g., "someone to take you to doctor when needed as a child"→BMI; beta = -0.594, p = 1.09 × 10). In males, we observed putative causal effects linking anthropometric-trait genetic liabilities to traumatic experiences (e.g., BMI→childhood physical abuse; beta = 0.028, p = 8.19 × 10). Some of these findings were replicated in individuals of African descent although the limited sample size available did not permit us to conduct a sex-stratified analysis in this ancestry group. In conclusion, our findings provide insights regarding sex-specific causal networks linking anthropometric traits to PTSD, traumatic experiences, and social support
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ynstr.2021.100400DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8477211PMC
November 2021

Examining Individual and Synergistic Contributions of PTSD and Genetics to Blood Pressure: A Trans-Ethnic Meta-Analysis.

Front Neurosci 2021 23;15:678503. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Department of Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, United States.

Growing research suggests that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be a risk factor for poor cardiovascular health, and yet our understanding of who might be at greatest risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes after trauma is limited. In this study, we conducted the first examination of the individual and synergistic contributions of PTSD symptoms and blood pressure genetics to continuous blood pressure levels. We harnessed the power of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium-PTSD Physical Health Working Group and investigated these associations across 11 studies of 72,224 trauma-exposed individuals of European ( = 70,870) and African ( = 1,354) ancestry. Genetic contributions to blood pressure were modeled via polygenic scores (PGS) for systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) that were derived from a prior trans-ethnic blood pressure genome-wide association study (GWAS). Results of trans-ethnic meta-analyses revealed significant main effects of the PGS on blood pressure levels [SBP: β = 2.83, standard error (SE) = 0.06, < 1E-20; DBP: β = 1.32, SE = 0.04, < 1E-20]. Significant main effects of PTSD symptoms were also detected for SBP and DBP in trans-ethnic meta-analyses, though there was significant heterogeneity in these results. When including data from the largest contributing study - United Kingdom Biobank - PTSD symptoms were negatively associated with SBP levels (β = -1.46, SE = 0.44, = 9.8E-4) and positively associated with DBP levels (β = 0.70, SE = 0.26, = 8.1E-3). However, when excluding the United Kingdom Biobank cohort in trans-ethnic meta-analyses, there was a nominally significant positive association between PTSD symptoms and SBP levels (β = 2.81, SE = 1.13, = 0.01); no significant association was observed for DBP (β = 0.43, SE = 0.78, = 0.58). Blood pressure PGS did not significantly moderate the associations between PTSD symptoms and blood pressure levels in meta-analyses. Additional research is needed to better understand the extent to which PTSD is associated with high blood pressure and how genetic as well as contextual factors may play a role in influencing cardiovascular risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2021.678503DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8262489PMC
June 2021

Clinical predictors of non-response to lithium treatment in the Pharmacogenomics of Bipolar Disorder (PGBD) study.

Bipolar Disord 2021 Dec 5;23(8):821-831. Epub 2021 May 5.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Background: Lithium is regarded as a first-line treatment for bipolar disorder (BD), but partial response and non-response commonly occurs. There exists a need to identify lithium non-responders prior to initiating treatment. The Pharmacogenomics of Bipolar Disorder (PGBD) Study was designed to identify predictors of lithium response.

Methods: The PGBD Study was an eleven site prospective trial of lithium treatment in bipolar I disorder. Subjects were stabilized on lithium monotherapy over 4 months and gradually discontinued from all other psychotropic medications. After ensuring a sustained clinical remission (defined by a score of ≤3 on the CGI for 4 weeks) had been achieved, subjects were followed for up to 2 years to monitor clinical response. Cox proportional hazard models were used to examine the relationship between clinical measures and time until failure to remit or relapse.

Results: A total of 345 individuals were enrolled into the study and included in the analysis. Of these, 101 subjects failed to remit or relapsed, 88 achieved remission and continued to study completion, and 156 were terminated from the study for other reasons. Significant clinical predictors of treatment failure (p < 0.05) included baseline anxiety symptoms, functional impairments, negative life events and lifetime clinical features such as a history of migraine, suicidal ideation/attempts, and mixed episodes, as well as a chronic course of illness.

Conclusions: In this PGBD Study of lithium response, several clinical features were found to be associated with failure to respond to lithium. Future validation is needed to confirm these clinical predictors of treatment failure and their use clinically to distinguish who will do well on lithium before starting pharmacotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bdi.13078DOI Listing
December 2021

Tractor uses local ancestry to enable the inclusion of admixed individuals in GWAS and to boost power.

Nat Genet 2021 02 18;53(2):195-204. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Admixed populations are routinely excluded from genomic studies due to concerns over population structure. Here, we present a statistical framework and software package, Tractor, to facilitate the inclusion of admixed individuals in association studies by leveraging local ancestry. We test Tractor with simulated and empirical two-way admixed African-European cohorts. Tractor generates accurate ancestry-specific effect-size estimates and P values, can boost genome-wide association study (GWAS) power and improves the resolution of association signals. Using a local ancestry-aware regression model, we replicate known hits for blood lipids, discover novel hits missed by standard GWAS and localize signals closer to putative causal variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-00766-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7867648PMC
February 2021

Epigenome-wide meta-analysis of PTSD across 10 military and civilian cohorts identifies methylation changes in AHRR.

Nat Commun 2020 11 24;11(1):5965. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Brown University, Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Department of Pediatric Research, Providence, RI, USA.

Epigenetic differences may help to distinguish between PTSD cases and trauma-exposed controls. Here, we describe the results of the largest DNA methylation meta-analysis of PTSD to date. Ten cohorts, military and civilian, contribute blood-derived DNA methylation data from 1,896 PTSD cases and trauma-exposed controls. Four CpG sites within the aryl-hydrocarbon receptor repressor (AHRR) associate with PTSD after adjustment for multiple comparisons, with lower DNA methylation in PTSD cases relative to controls. Although AHRR methylation is known to associate with smoking, the AHRR association with PTSD is most pronounced in non-smokers, suggesting the result was independent of smoking status. Evaluation of metabolomics data reveals that AHRR methylation associated with kynurenine levels, which are lower among subjects with PTSD. This study supports epigenetic differences in those with PTSD and suggests a role for decreased kynurenine as a contributor to immune dysregulation in PTSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19615-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7686485PMC
November 2020

Novel Risk Loci in Tinnitus and Causal Inference With Neuropsychiatric Disorders Among Adults of European Ancestry.

JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2020 11;146(11):1015-1025

Research Service, Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California.

Importance: Tinnitus affects at least 16 million US adults, but its pathophysiology is complicated, and treatment options remain limited. A heritable component has been identified in family and twin studies; however, no large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been accomplished.

Objective: To identify genetic risk loci associated with tinnitus, determine genetic correlations, and infer possible relationships of tinnitus with hearing loss and neuropsychiatric disorders and traits.

Design, Setting, And Participants: A GWAS of self-reported tinnitus was performed in the UK Biobank (UKB) cohort using a linear mixed-model method implemented in BOLT-LMM (linear mixed model). Replication of significant findings was sought in the nonoverlapping US Million Veteran Program (MVP) cohort. A total of 172 995 UKB (discovery) and 260 832 MVP (replication) participants of European ancestry with self-report regarding tinnitus and hearing loss underwent genomic analysis. Linkage-disequilibrium score regression and mendelian randomization were performed between tinnitus and hearing loss and neuropsychiatric disorders. Data from the UKB were acquired and analyzed from September 24, 2018, to December 13, 2019. Data acquisition for the MVP cohort was completed July 22, 2019. Data analysis for both cohorts was completed on February 11, 2020.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Estimates of single nucleotide variation (SNV)-based heritability for tinnitus, identification of genetic risk loci and genes, functional mapping, and replication were performed. Genetic association and inferred causality of tinnitus compared with hearing loss and neuropsychiatric disorders and traits were analyzed.

Results: Of 172 995 UKB participants (53.7% female; mean [SD], 58.0 [8.2] years), 155 395 unrelated participants underwent SNV-based heritability analyses across a range of tinnitus phenotype definitions that explained approximately 6% of the heritability. The GWAS based on the most heritable model in the full UKB cohort identified 6 genome-wide significant loci and 27 genes in gene-based analyses, with replication of 3 of 6 loci and 8 of 27 genes in 260 832 MVP cohort participants (92.8% men; mean [SD] age, 63.8 [13.2] years). Mendelian randomization indicated that major depressive disorder had a permissive effect (β = 0.133; P = .003) and years of education had a protective effect (β = -0.322, P = <.001) on tinnitus, whereas tinnitus and hearing loss inferred a bidirectional association (β = 0.072, P = .001 and β = 1.546, P = <.001, respectively).

Conclusions And Relevance: This large GWAS characterizes the genetic architecture of tinnitus, demonstrating modest but significant heritability and a polygenic profile with multiple significant risk loci and genes. Genetic correlation and inferred causation between tinnitus and major depressive disorder, educational level, and hearing impairment were identified, consistent with clinical and neuroimaging evidence. These findings may guide gene-based diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to this pervasive disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoto.2020.2920DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7516809PMC
November 2020

Analysis of Genetically Regulated Gene Expression Identifies a Prefrontal PTSD Gene, SNRNP35, Specific to Military Cohorts.

Cell Rep 2020 06;31(9):107716

SAMRC Unit on Risk & Resilience in Mental Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cape Town, Cape Town 7700, South Africa.

To reveal post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) genetic risk influences on tissue-specific gene expression, we use brain and non-brain transcriptomic imputation. We impute genetically regulated gene expression (GReX) in 29,539 PTSD cases and 166,145 controls from 70 ancestry-specific cohorts and identify 18 significant GReX-PTSD associations corresponding to specific tissue-gene pairs. The results suggest substantial genetic heterogeneity based on ancestry, cohort type (military versus civilian), and sex. Two study-wide significant PTSD associations are identified in European and military European cohorts; ZNF140 is predicted to be upregulated in whole blood, and SNRNP35 is predicted to be downregulated in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, respectively. In peripheral leukocytes from 175 marines, the observed PTSD differential gene expression correlates with the predicted differences for these individuals, and deployment stress produces glucocorticoid-regulated expression changes that include downregulation of both ZNF140 and SNRNP35. SNRNP35 knockdown in cells validates its functional role in U12-intron splicing. Finally, exogenous glucocorticoids in mice downregulate prefrontal Snrnp35 expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2020.107716DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7359754PMC
June 2020

The association between lithium use and neurocognitive performance in patients with bipolar disorder.

Neuropsychopharmacology 2020 09 29;45(10):1743-1749. Epub 2020 Apr 29.

NORMENT, Division of Psychiatry, Haukeland University Hospital and Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Lithium remains the gold standard for the treatment of bipolar disorder (BD); however, its use has declined over the years mainly due to the side effects and the subjective experience of cognitive numbness reported by patients. In the present study, we aim to methodically test the effects of lithium on neurocognitive functioning in the largest single cohort (n = 262) of BD patients reported to date by harnessing the power of a multi-site, ongoing clinical trial of lithium monotherapy. At the cross-sectional level, multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) was conducted to examine potential group differences across neurocognitive tests [California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT trials 1-5,CVLT delayed recall), Wechsler Digit Symbol, Trail-making Test parts A and B (TMT-A; TMT-B), and a global cognition index]. At the longitudinal level, on a subset of patients (n = 88) who achieved mood stabilization with lithium monotherapy, we explored the effect of lithium treatment across time on neurocognitive functioning. There were no differences at baseline between BD patients that were taking lithium compared with those that were not. At follow-up a significant neurocognitive improvement in the global cognitive index score [F = 31.69; p < 0.001], CVLT trials 1-5 [F = 29.81; p < 0.001], CVLT delayed recall [F = 15.27; p < 0.001], and TMT-B [F = 6.64, p = 0.012] was detected. The cross-sectional and longitudinal (on a subset of 88 patients) investigations suggest that lithium may be beneficial to neurocognitive functioning in patients with BD and that at the very least it does not seem to significantly impair cognition when used therapeutically.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41386-020-0683-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7419515PMC
September 2020

Shared molecular genetic risk of alcohol dependence and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Psychol Addict Behav 2020 Aug 19;34(5):613-619. Epub 2020 Mar 19.

Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) frequently co-occur, highlighting the importance of understanding the etiology of these comorbid conditions. Although AUD and PTSD are moderately heritable with modest overlap in genetic risk as estimated from family studies, there has been a paucity of work using molecular genetic data to estimate shared genetic effects on these conditions. This study used large-scale genomewide molecular data to examine shared genetic risk for AUD, specifically alcohol dependence (AD), and PTSD through cross-trait linkage disequilibrium (LD) score regression (LDSC; also known as LDSR). Summary statistics came from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) PTSD Workgroup Freeze 2 European ancestry (EA) participants ( = 174,659) and AD summary statistics in EA participants ( = 38,686) came from the PGC Substance Use Disorders (SUD) Workgroup. We performed LDSC to estimate genetic correlation between AD and PTSD using HapMap3 variants and LD scores from the 1000 Genomes project. A moderate, significant correlation was observed between AD and PTSD ( = .35, = .02), with sex differences identified through stratified analyses. Our results are the first to demonstrate evidence of a shared molecular genetic etiology for AD and PTSD. Further research is needed to better understand possible sex differences in shared heritability and extend these results to additional populations. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/adb0000568DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7394716PMC
August 2020

Dissecting the genetic association of C-reactive protein with PTSD, traumatic events, and social support.

Neuropsychopharmacology 2021 05 16;46(6):1071-1077. Epub 2020 Mar 16.

Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine and VA CT Healthcare Center, West Haven, CT, 06516, USA.

Inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein (CRP) have been associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic experiences, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. We investigated the relationship among serum CRP, PTSD, and traits related to traumatic events and social support using genetic association data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (23,185 PTSD cases and 151,309 controls), the UK Biobank (UKB; up to 117,900 individuals), and the CHARGE study (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology, 148,164 individual). Linkage disequilibrium score regression, polygenic risk scoring, and two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses were used to investigate genetic overlap and causal relationships. Genetic correlations of CRP were observed with PTSD (rg = 0.16, p = 0.026) and traits related to traumatic events, and the presence of social support (-0.28 < rg < 0.20; p < 0.008). We observed a bidirectional association between CRP and PTSD (CRP → PTSD: β = 0.065, p = 0.015; PTSD → CRP: β = 0.008, p = 0.009). CRP also showed a negative association with the "felt loved as a child" trait (UKB, β = -0.017, p = 0.008). Owing to the known association of socioeconomic status (SES) on PTSD, a multivariable MR was performed to investigate SES as potential mediator. We found that household income (univariate MR: β = -0.22, p = 1.57 × 10; multivariate MR: β = -0.17, p = 0.005) and deprivation index (univariate MR: β = 0.38, p = 1.63 × 10; multivariate MR: β = 0.27, p = 0.016) were driving the causal estimates of "felt loved as a child" and CRP on PTSD. The present findings highlight a bidirectional genetic association between PTSD and CRP, also suggesting a potential role of SES in the interplay between childhood support and inflammatory processes with respect to PTSD risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41386-020-0655-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8115274PMC
May 2021

An epigenome-wide association study of posttraumatic stress disorder in US veterans implicates several new DNA methylation loci.

Clin Epigenetics 2020 03 14;12(1):46. Epub 2020 Mar 14.

Arq, Psychotrauma Reseach Expert Group, Diemen, NH, Netherlands.

Background: Previous studies using candidate gene and genome-wide approaches have identified epigenetic changes in DNA methylation (DNAm) associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Methods: In this study, we performed an EWAS of PTSD in a cohort of Veterans (n = 378 lifetime PTSD cases and 135 controls) from the Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders (TRACTS) cohort assessed using the Illumina EPIC Methylation BeadChip which assesses DNAm at more than 850,000 sites throughout the genome. Our model included covariates for ancestry, cell heterogeneity, sex, age, and a smoking score based on DNAm at 39 smoking-associated CpGs. We also examined in EPIC-based DNAm data generated from pre-frontal cortex (PFC) tissue from the National PTSD Brain Bank (n = 72).

Results: The analysis of blood samples yielded one genome-wide significant association with PTSD at cg19534438 in the gene G0S2 (p = 1.19 × 10, p = 0.048). This association was replicated in an independent PGC-PTSD-EWAS consortium meta-analysis of military cohorts (p = 0.0024). We also observed association with the smoking-related locus cg05575921 in AHRR despite inclusion of a methylation-based smoking score covariate (p = 9.16 × 10), which replicates a previously observed PGC-PTSD-EWAS association (Smith et al. 2019), and yields evidence consistent with a smoking-independent effect. The top 100 EWAS loci were then examined in the PFC data. One of the blood-based PTSD loci, cg04130728 in CHST11, which was in the top 10 loci in blood, but which was not genome-wide significant, was significantly associated with PTSD in brain tissue (in blood p = 1.19 × 10, p = 0.60, in brain, p = 0.00032 with the same direction of effect). Gene set enrichment analysis of the top 500 EWAS loci yielded several significant overlapping GO terms involved in pathogen response, including "Response to lipopolysaccharide" (p = 6.97 × 10, p = 0.042).

Conclusions: The cross replication observed in independent cohorts is evidence that DNA methylation in peripheral tissue can yield consistent and replicable PTSD associations, and our results also suggest that that some PTSD associations observed in peripheral tissue may mirror associations in the brain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-020-0820-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071645PMC
March 2020

Genomic influences on self-reported childhood maltreatment.

Transl Psychiatry 2020 01 27;10(1):38. Epub 2020 Jan 27.

US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Fort Detrick, MD, USA.

Childhood maltreatment is highly prevalent and serves as a risk factor for mental and physical disorders. Self-reported childhood maltreatment appears heritable, but the specific genetic influences on this phenotype are largely unknown. The aims of this study were to (1) identify genetic variation associated with self-reported childhood maltreatment, (2) estimate SNP-based heritability (h), (3) assess predictive value of polygenic risk scores (PRS) for childhood maltreatment, and (4) quantify genetic overlap of childhood maltreatment with mental and physical health-related phenotypes, and condition the top hits from our analyses when such overlap is present. Genome-wide association analysis for childhood maltreatment was undertaken, using a discovery sample from the UK Biobank (UKBB) (n = 124,000) and a replication sample from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium-posttraumatic stress disorder group (PGC-PTSD) (n = 26,290). h for childhood maltreatment and genetic correlations with mental/physical health traits were calculated using linkage disequilibrium score regression. PRS was calculated using PRSice and mtCOJO was used to perform conditional analysis. Two genome-wide significant loci associated with childhood maltreatment (rs142346759, p = 4.35 × 10, FOXP1; rs10262462, p = 3.24 × 10, FOXP2) were identified in the discovery dataset but were not replicated in PGC-PTSD. h for childhood maltreatment was ~6% and the PRS derived from the UKBB was significantly predictive of childhood maltreatment in PGC-PTSD (r = 0.0025; p = 1.8 × 10). The most significant genetic correlation of childhood maltreatment was with depressive symptoms (r = 0.70, p = 4.65 × 10), although we show evidence that our top hits may be specific to childhood maltreatment. This is the first large-scale genetic study to identify specific variants associated with self-reported childhood maltreatment. Speculatively, FOXP genes might influence externalizing traits and so be relevant to childhood maltreatment. Alternatively, these variants may be associated with a greater likelihood of reporting maltreatment. A clearer understanding of the genetic relationships of childhood maltreatment, including particular abuse subtypes, with a range of phenotypes, may ultimately be useful in in developing targeted treatment and prevention strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-0706-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7026037PMC
January 2020

Longitudinal epigenome-wide association studies of three male military cohorts reveal multiple CpG sites associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Clin Epigenetics 2020 01 13;12(1):11. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, School for Mental health and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands.

Background: Epigenetic mechanisms have been suggested to play a role in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here, blood-derived DNA methylation data (HumanMethylation450 BeadChip) collected prior to and following combat exposure in three cohorts of male military members were analyzed to assess whether DNA methylation profiles are associated with the development of PTSD. A total of 123 PTSD cases and 143 trauma-exposed controls were included in the analyses. The Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) PTSD EWAS QC pipeline was used on all cohorts, and results were combined using a sample size weighted meta-analysis in a two-stage design. In stage one, we jointly analyzed data of two new cohorts (N = 126 and 78) for gene discovery, and sought to replicate significant findings in a third, previously published cohort (N = 62) to assess the robustness of our results. In stage 2, we aimed at maximizing power for gene discovery by combining all three cohorts in a meta-analysis.

Results: Stage 1 analyses identified four CpG sites in which, conditional on pre-deployment DNA methylation, post-deployment DNA methylation was significantly associated with PTSD status after epigenome-wide adjustment for multiple comparisons. The most significant (intergenic) CpG cg05656210 (p = 1.0 × 10) was located on 5q31 and significantly replicated in the third cohort. In addition, 19 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) were identified, but failed replication. Stage 2 analyses identified three epigenome-wide significant CpGs, the intergenic CpG cg05656210 and two additional CpGs located in MAD1L1 (cg12169700) and HEXDC (cg20756026). Interestingly, cg12169700 had an underlying single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) which was located within the same LD block as a recently identified PTSD-associated SNP in MAD1L1. Stage 2 analyses further identified 12 significant differential methylated regions (DMRs), 1 of which was located in MAD1L1 and 4 were situated in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region.

Conclusions: This study suggests that the development of combat-related PTSD is associated with distinct methylation patterns in several genomic positions and regions. Our most prominent findings suggest the involvement of the immune system through the HLA region and HEXDC, and MAD1L1 which was previously associated with PTSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-019-0798-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6958602PMC
January 2020

Associations between Serum Levels of Cholesterol and Survival to Age 90 in Postmenopausal Women.

J Am Geriatr Soc 2020 02 13;68(2):288-296. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California.

Objectives: Although elevated lipid levels predict increased risk of coronary heart disease and death in middle-aged women and men, evidence is mixed if lipid levels measured in later life predict survival to very old ages. We examined lipid levels and survival to age 90 with or without intact mobility in a large cohort of older women.

Design: Prospective cohort.

Setting: Laboratory collection at a Women's Health Initiative (WHI) center and longitudinal follow-up via mail.

Participants: Women aged 68 to 81 years at baseline.

Measurements: Serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were collected at baseline. Participant survival status and self-reported mobility was compared across lipid levels.

Results: HDL and LDL levels were not associated with survival to age 90 after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors (HDL: quartile (Q) 2: odds ratio [OR] = 1.14 [95% confidence interval [CI] = .94-1.38]; Q3 OR = 1.08 [95% CI = .88-1.33]; Q4 OR = 1.09 [95% CI = .88-1.35]; LDL: Q2 OR = 1.07 [95% CI = .88-1.31]; Q3 OR = 1.27 [95% CI = 1.04-1.55]; Q4 OR = 1.07 [95% CI = .88-1.31]). Similarly, no associations were observed between HDL and LDL levels and survival to age 90 with mobility disability. High HDL was not associated with survival to age 90 with intact mobility after adjustment for other cardiovascular risk factors. Compared with the lowest LDL quartile, the three upper LDL quartiles were associated with greater odds of survival to age 90 with intact mobility (LDL: Q2 OR = 1.31 [95% CI = .99-1.74]; Q3 OR = 1.43 [95% CI = 1.07-1.92]; Q4 OR = 1.35 [95% CI = 1.01-1.80]; P = .05).

Conclusion: Neither higher HDL nor lower LDL levels predicted survival to age 90, but higher LDL predicted healthy survival. These findings suggest the need for reevaluation of healthy LDL levels in older women. J Am Geriatr Soc 68:288-296, 2020.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jgs.16306DOI Listing
February 2020

Molecular genetic overlap between posttraumatic stress disorder and sleep phenotypes.

Sleep 2020 04;43(4)

Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, VA.

Study Objectives: Sleep problems are common, serving as both a predictor and symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with these bidirectional relationships well established in the literature. While both sleep phenotypes and PTSD are moderately heritable, there has been a paucity of investigation into potential genetic overlap between sleep and PTSD. Here, we estimate genetic correlations between multiple sleep phenotypes (including insomnia symptoms, sleep duration, daytime sleepiness, and chronotype) and PTSD, using results from the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) to date of PTSD, as well as publicly available GWAS results for sleep phenotypes within UK Biobank data (23 variations, encompassing four main phenotypes).

Methods: Genetic correlations were estimated utilizing linkage disequilibrium score regression (LDSC), an approach that uses GWAS summary statistics to compute genetic correlations across traits, and Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses were conducted to follow up on significant correlations.

Results: Significant, moderate genetic correlations were found between insomnia symptoms (rg range 0.36-0.49), oversleeping (rg range 0.32-0.44), undersleeping (rg range 0.48-0.49), and PTSD. In contrast, there were mixed results for continuous sleep duration and daytime sleepiness phenotypes, and chronotype was not correlated with PTSD. MR analyses did not provide evidence for casual effects of sleep phenotypes on PTSD.

Conclusion: Sleep phenotypes, particularly insomnia symptoms and extremes of sleep duration, have shared genetic etiology with PTSD, but causal relationships were not identified. This highlights the importance of further investigation into the overlapping influences on these phenotypes as sample sizes increase and new methods to investigate directionality and causality become available.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsz257DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7157187PMC
April 2020

Critical evaluation of copy number variant calling methods using DNA methylation.

Genet Epidemiol 2020 03 18;44(2):148-158. Epub 2019 Nov 18.

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.

Recent technological and methodological developments have enabled the use of array-based DNA methylation data to call copy number variants (CNVs). ChAMP, Conumee, and cnAnalysis450k are popular methods currently used to call CNVs using methylation data. However, so far, no studies have analyzed the reliability of these methods using real samples. Data from a cohort of individuals with genotype and DNA methylation data generated using the HumanMethylation450 and MethylationEPIC BeadChips were used to assess the consistency between the CNV calls generated by methylation and genotype data. We also took advantage of repeated measures of methylation data collected from the same individuals to compare the reliability of CNVs called by ChAMP, Conumee, and cnAnalysis450k for both the methylation arrays. ChAMP identified more CNVs than Conumee and cnAnalysis450k for both the arrays and, as a consequence, had a higher overlap (~62%) with the calls from the genotype data. However, all methods had relatively low reliability. For the MethylationEPIC array, Conumee had the highest reliability (57.6%), whereas for the HumanMethylation450 array, cnAnalysis450k had the highest reliability (43.0%). Overall, the MethylationEPIC array provided significant gains in reliability for CNV calling over the HumanMethylation450 array but not for overlap with CNVs called using genotype data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gepi.22269DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7028453PMC
March 2020

Sleep disturbance at pre-deployment is a significant predictor of post-deployment re-experiencing symptoms.

Eur J Psychotraumatol 2019 29;10(1):1679964. Epub 2019 Oct 29.

Center for Excellence in Stress and Mental Health, VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA, USA.

: Insomnia is common in service members and associated with many mental and physical health problems. Recently, longitudinal data have been used to assess the impact of disturbed sleep on mental health outcomes. These studies have consistently shown relationships between sleep disturbance and development of mental illness. : The present study examined the longitudinal relationship between sleep disturbance and PTSD symptomatology in a cohort of Marines and Navy Corpsmen deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan (n = 2,404) assessed prior to deployment, as well as at -3 and 6 months post-deployment. Additionally, we aimed to investigate the extent to which these relationships are moderated by combat-stress severity, and to what extent these findings are replicated in a second, separate cohort of Marines and Navy corpsmen (n = 938) assessed with identical measures prior to deployment and within 3 months of return. : The present study employed latent variable path models to examine the relationships between pre-deployment sleep disturbance and post-deployment re-experiencing symptoms. Initial cross-lagged path models were conducted on discovery and replication samples to validate the hypothesized predictive relationships. Follow up moderation path models were then conducted to include the effect of combat-stress severity on these relationships. : Initial cross-lagged models supported a significant relationship between pre-deployment sleep disturbance and future re-experiencing PTSD symptoms at all time points. Initial moderation models showed a small moderator effect of combat-stress severity, though the main predictive relationship between pre-deployment sleep disturbance and PTSD symptoms remained significant. The moderator effect was not significant in the replication sample. : The results of this study support pre-deployment sleep disturbance as a risk factor for development of post-deployment PTSD symptoms. Interventions aimed at normalizing sleep may be important in preventive measures for PTSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20008198.2019.1679964DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6830277PMC
October 2019

Genome-wide Association of Endophenotypes for Schizophrenia From the Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia (COGS) Study.

JAMA Psychiatry 2019 12;76(12):1274-1284

Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla.

Importance: The Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia (COGS) uses quantitative neurophysiological and neurocognitive endophenotypes with demonstrated deficits in schizophrenia as a platform from which to explore the underlying neural circuitry and genetic architecture. Many of these endophenotypes are associated with poor functional outcome in schizophrenia. Some are also endorsed as potential treatment targets by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Objective: To build on prior assessments of heritability, association, and linkage in the COGS phase 1 (COGS-1) families by reporting a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 11 schizophrenia-related endophenotypes in the independent phase 2 (COGS-2) cohort of patients with schizophrenia and healthy comparison participants (HCPs).

Design, Setting, And Participants: A total of 1789 patients with schizophrenia and HCPs of self-reported European or Latino ancestry were recruited through a collaborative effort across the COGS sites and genotyped using the PsychChip. Standard quality control filters were applied, and more than 6.2 million variants with a genotyping call rate of greater than 0.99 were available after imputation. Association was performed for data sets stratified by diagnosis and ancestry using linear regression and adjusting for age, sex, and 5 principal components, with results combined through weighted meta-analysis. Data for COGS-1 were collected from January 6, 2003, to August 6, 2008; data for COGS-2, from June 30, 2010, to February 14, 2014. Data were analyzed from October 28, 2016, to May 4, 2018.

Main Outcomes And Measures: A genome-wide association study was performed to evaluate association for 11 neurophysiological and neurocognitive endophenotypes targeting key domains of schizophrenia related to inhibition, attention, vigilance, learning, working memory, executive function, episodic memory, and social cognition.

Results: The final sample of 1533 participants included 861 male participants (56.2%), and the mean (SD) age was 41.8 (13.6) years. In total, 7 genome-wide significant regions (P < 5 × 10-8) and 2 nearly significant regions (P < 9 × 10-8) containing several genes of interest, including NRG3 and HCN1, were identified for 7 endophenotypes. For each of the 11 endophenotypes, enrichment analyses performed at the level of P < 10-4 compared favorably with previous association results in the COGS-1 families and showed extensive overlap with regions identified for schizophrenia diagnosis.

Conclusions And Relevance: These analyses identified several genomic regions of interest that require further exploration and validation. These data seem to demonstrate the utility of endophenotypes for resolving the genetic architecture of schizophrenia and characterizing the underlying biological dysfunctions. Understanding the molecular basis of these endophenotypes may help to identify novel treatment targets and pave the way for precision-based medicine in schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.2850DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6802253PMC
December 2019

International meta-analysis of PTSD genome-wide association studies identifies sex- and ancestry-specific genetic risk loci.

Nat Commun 2019 10 8;10(1):4558. Epub 2019 Oct 8.

Durham VA Medical Center, Research, Durham, NC, USA.

The risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following trauma is heritable, but robust common variants have yet to be identified. In a multi-ethnic cohort including over 30,000 PTSD cases and 170,000 controls we conduct a genome-wide association study of PTSD. We demonstrate SNP-based heritability estimates of 5-20%, varying by sex. Three genome-wide significant loci are identified, 2 in European and 1 in African-ancestry analyses. Analyses stratified by sex implicate 3 additional loci in men. Along with other novel genes and non-coding RNAs, a Parkinson's disease gene involved in dopamine regulation, PARK2, is associated with PTSD. Finally, we demonstrate that polygenic risk for PTSD is significantly predictive of re-experiencing symptoms in the Million Veteran Program dataset, although specific loci did not replicate. These results demonstrate the role of genetic variation in the biology of risk for PTSD and highlight the necessity of conducting sex-stratified analyses and expanding GWAS beyond European ancestry populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12576-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6783435PMC
October 2019

Entrainment of Circadian Rhythms to Temperature Reveals Amplitude Deficits in Fibroblasts from Patients with Bipolar Disorder and Possible Links to Calcium Channels.

Mol Neuropsychiatry 2019 Apr 4;5(2):115-124. Epub 2019 Apr 4.

VA San Diego Healthcare System Psychiatry Service, San Diego, California, USA.

Bipolar disorder (BD) is characterized by recurrent mood episodes, and circadian rhythm disturbances. Past studies have identified calcium channel genes as risk loci for BD. encodes an L-type calcium channel (LTCC) involved in the entrainment of circadian rhythms to light. Another calcium channel, i.e., the ryanodine receptor (RYR), is involved in -circadian phase delays. It is unknown whether variants in or other calcium channels contribute to the circadian phenotype in BD. We hypothesized that, by using temperature cycles, we could model circadian entrainment in fibroblasts from BD patients and controls to interrogate the circadian functions of LTCCs. Using Per2-luc, a bioluminescent reporter, we verified that cells entrain to temperature rhythms in vitro. Under constant temperature conditions, the LTCC antagonist verapamil shortened the circadian period, and the RYR antagonist dantrolene lengthened the period. However, neither drug affected temperature entrainment. Fibroblasts from BD patients and controls also entrained to temperature. In cells from BD patients, the rhythm amplitude was lower under entrained, but not constant, conditions. Temperature entrainment was otherwise similar between BD and control cells. However, the genotype among BD cells predicted the degree to which cells entrained. We conclude that assessment of rhythms under entrained conditions reveals additional rhythm abnormalities in BD that are not observable under constant temperature conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000497354DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6528084PMC
April 2019

Genome-wide analyses of psychological resilience in U.S. Army soldiers.

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2019 07 13;180(5):310-319. Epub 2019 May 13.

Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland.

Though a growing body of preclinical and translational research is illuminating a biological basis for resilience to stress, little is known about the genetic basis of psychological resilience in humans. We conducted genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of self-assessed (by questionnaire) and outcome-based (incident mental disorders from predeployment to postdeployment) resilience among European (EUR) ancestry soldiers in the Army study to assess risk and resilience in servicemembers. Self-assessed resilience (N = 11,492) was found to have significant common-variant heritability (h = 0.162, se = 0.050, p = 5.37 × 10 ), and to be significantly negatively genetically correlated with neuroticism (r  = -0.388, p = .0092). GWAS results from the EUR soldiers revealed a genome-wide significant locus on an intergenic region on Chr 4 upstream from doublecortin-like kinase 2 (DCLK2) (four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in LD; top SNP: rs4260523 [p = 5.65 × 10 ] is an eQTL in frontal cortex), a member of the doublecortin family of kinases that promote survival and regeneration of injured neurons. A second gene, kelch-like family member 36 (KLHL36) was detected at gene-wise genome-wide significance [p = 1.89 × 10 ]. A polygenic risk score derived from the self-assessed resilience GWAS was not significantly associated with outcome-based resilience. In very preliminary results, genome-wide significant association with outcome-based resilience was found for one locus (top SNP: rs12580015 [p = 2.37 × 10 ]) on Chr 12 downstream from solute carrier family 15 member 5 (SLC15A5) in subjects (N = 581) exposed to the highest level of deployment stress. The further study of genetic determinants of resilience has the potential to illuminate the molecular bases of stress-related psychopathology and point to new avenues for therapeutic intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.32730DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6551278PMC
July 2019

Association of Economic Status and Educational Attainment With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Mendelian Randomization Study.

JAMA Netw Open 2019 05 3;2(5):e193447. Epub 2019 May 3.

Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, West Haven, Connecticut.

Importance: There is a well-established negative association of educational attainment (EA) and other traits related to cognitive ability with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood.

Objectives: To investigate the association of PTSD with traits related to EA.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Genetic correlation, polygenic risk scoring, and mendelian randomization (MR) were conducted including 23 185 individuals with PTSD and 151 309 control participants from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium for PTSD and up to 1 131 881 individuals assessed for EA and related traits from UK Biobank, 23andMe, and the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium. Data were analyzed from July 3 through November 19, 2018.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Genetic correlation obtained from linkage disequilibrium score regression, phenotypic variance explained by polygenic risk scores, and association estimates from MR.

Results: Summary association data from multiple genome-wide association studies were available for a total of 1 180 352 participants (634 391 [53.7%] women). Posttraumatic stress disorder showed negative genetic correlations with EA (rg = -0.26; SE = 0.05; P = 4.60 × 10-8). Mendelian randomization analysis, conducting considering a random-effects inverse-variance weighted method, indicated that EA has a negative association with PTSD (β = -0.23; 95% CI, -0.07 to -0.39; P = .004). Investigating potential mediators of the EA-PTSD association, propensity for trauma exposure and risk-taking behaviors were observed as risk factors for PTSD independent of EA (trauma exposure: β = 0.37; 95% CI, 0.19 to 0.52; P = 2.57 × 10-5; risk-taking: β = 0.76; 95% CI, 0.38 to 1.13; P = 1.13 × 10-4), while income may mediate the association of EA with PSTD (MR income: β = -0.18; 95% CI, -0.29 to -0.07; P = .001; MR EA: β = -0.23; 95% CI, -0.39 to -0.07; P = .004; multivariable MR income: β = -0.32; 95% CI, -0.57 to 0.07; P = .02; multivariable MR EA: β = -0.04; 95% CI, -0.29 to 0.21; SE, 0.13; P = .79).

Conclusions And Relevance: Large-scale genomic data sets add further evidence to the negative association of EA with PTSD, also supporting the role of economic status as a mediator in the association observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.3447DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6503495PMC
May 2019

Post-traumatic stress following military deployment: Genetic associations and cross-disorder genetic correlations.

J Affect Disord 2019 06 9;252:350-357. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

Research and Knowledge Center, The Danish Veteran Center, Garnisonen 1, 4100 Ringsted, Denmark.

Background: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a complex psychiatric disorder that occurs with relatively high frequency after deployment to warzones (∼10%). While twin studies have estimated the heritability to be up to 40%, thus indicating a considerable genetic component in the etiology, the biological mechanisms underlying risk and development of PTSD remain unknown.

Methods: Here, we conduct a genome-wide association study (GWAS; N = 2,481) to identify genome regions that associate with PTSD in a highly homogenous, trauma-exposed sample of Danish soldiers deployed to war and conflict zones. We perform integrated analyses of our results with gene-expression and chromatin-contact datasets to prioritized genes. We also leverage on other large GWAS (N>300,000) to investigate genetic correlations between PTSD and other psychiatric disorders and traits.

Results: We discover, but do not replicate, one region, 4q31, close to the IL15 gene, which is genome-wide significantly associated with PTSD. We demonstrate that gene-set enrichment, polygenic risk score and genetic correlation analyses show consistent and significant genetic correlations between PTSD and depression, insomnia and schizophrenia.

Limitations: The limited sample size, the lack of replication, and the PTSD case definition by questionnaire are limitations to the study.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that genetic perturbations of inflammatory response may contribute to the risk of PTSD. In addition, shared genetic components contribute to observed correlations between PTSD and depression, insomnia and schizophrenia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2019.04.070DOI Listing
June 2019

Chronotype and cellular circadian rhythms predict the clinical response to lithium maintenance treatment in patients with bipolar disorder.

Neuropsychopharmacology 2019 02 16;44(3):620-628. Epub 2018 Nov 16.

Department of Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA.

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a serious mood disorder associated with circadian rhythm abnormalities. Risk for BD is genetically encoded and overlaps with systems that maintain circadian rhythms. Lithium is an effective mood stabilizer treatment for BD, but only a minority of patients fully respond to monotherapy. Presently, we hypothesized that lithium-responsive BD patients (Li-R) would show characteristic differences in chronotype and cellular circadian rhythms compared to lithium non-responders (Li-NR). Selecting patients from a prospective, multi-center, clinical trial of lithium monotherapy, we examined morning vs. evening preference (chronotype) as a dimension of circadian rhythm function in 193 Li-R and Li-NR BD patients. From a subset of 59 patient donors, we measured circadian rhythms in skin fibroblasts longitudinally over 5 days using a bioluminescent reporter (Per2-luc). We then estimated circadian rhythm parameters (amplitude, period, phase) and the pharmacological effects of lithium on rhythms in cells from Li-R and Li-NR donors. Compared to Li-NRs, Li-Rs showed a difference in chronotype, with higher levels of morningness. Evening chronotype was associated with increased mood symptoms at baseline, including depression, mania, and insomnia. Cells from Li-Rs were more likely to exhibit a short circadian period, a linear relationship between period and phase, and period shortening effects of lithium. Common genetic variation in the IP signaling pathway may account for some of the individual differences in the effects of lithium on cellular rhythms. We conclude that circadian rhythms may influence response to lithium in maintenance treatment of BD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41386-018-0273-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6333516PMC
February 2019
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