Publications by authors named "Derek W Morris"

108 Publications

Current psychosocial stress, childhood trauma and cognition in patients with schizophrenia and healthy participants.

Schizophr Res 2021 Sep 11;237:115-121. Epub 2021 Sep 11.

School of Psychology, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland; Centre for Neuroimaging, Cognition & Genomics, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland. Electronic address:

Background: Cognitive difficulties are experienced frequently in schizophrenia (SZ) and are strongly predictive of functional outcome. Although severity of cognitive difficulties has been robustly associated with early life adversity, whether and how they are affected by current stress is unknown. The present study investigated whether acute stress reactivity as measured by heart rate and mood changes predict cognitive performance in patients with schizophrenia and healthy individuals, and whether this is moderated by diagnosis and previous childhood trauma exposure.

Methods: One hundred and four patients with schizophrenia and 207 healthy participants were administered a battery of tasks assessing cognitive performance after psychosocial stress induction (Trier Social Stress Test; TSST). Mood states (Profile of Mood States; POMS) and heart rate were assessed at baseline, immediately before, and after the TSST.

Results: Both healthy participants and patients showed increases in POMS Tension and Total Mood Disturbance scores between Time Point 2 (pre-TSST) and Time Point 3 (post-TSST). These changes were not associated with variation in cognition. Although childhood trauma exposure was associated with higher stress reactivity and poorer cognitive function in all participants, childhood trauma did not moderate the association between stress reactivity and cognition. Neither was diagnosis a moderator of this relationship.

Discussion: These findings suggest that while chronic stress exposure explains significant variation in cognition, acute stress reactivity (measured by changes in Tension and Total Mood Disturbance) did not. In the context of broader developmental processes, we conclude that stressful events that occur earlier in development, and with greater chronicity, are likely to be more strongly associated with cognitive variation than acute transient stressors experienced in adulthood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2021.08.030DOI Listing
September 2021

Genome-wide association study of more than 40,000 bipolar disorder cases provides new insights into the underlying biology.

Nat Genet 2021 06 17;53(6):817-829. Epub 2021 May 17.

Department of Neuroscience, Istituto Di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS, Milan, Italy.

Bipolar disorder is a heritable mental illness with complex etiology. We performed a genome-wide association study of 41,917 bipolar disorder cases and 371,549 controls of European ancestry, which identified 64 associated genomic loci. Bipolar disorder risk alleles were enriched in genes in synaptic signaling pathways and brain-expressed genes, particularly those with high specificity of expression in neurons of the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Significant signal enrichment was found in genes encoding targets of antipsychotics, calcium channel blockers, antiepileptics and anesthetics. Integrating expression quantitative trait locus data implicated 15 genes robustly linked to bipolar disorder via gene expression, encoding druggable targets such as HTR6, MCHR1, DCLK3 and FURIN. Analyses of bipolar disorder subtypes indicated high but imperfect genetic correlation between bipolar disorder type I and II and identified additional associated loci. Together, these results advance our understanding of the biological etiology of bipolar disorder, identify novel therapeutic leads and prioritize genes for functional follow-up studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-021-00857-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8192451PMC
June 2021

Changes in Default-Mode Network Associated With Childhood Trauma in Schizophrenia.

Schizophr Bull 2021 Aug;47(5):1482-1494

School of Psychology, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland.

Background: There is considerable evidence of dysconnectivity within the default-mode network (DMN) in schizophrenia, as measured during resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI). History of childhood trauma (CT) is observed at a higher frequency in schizophrenia than in the general population, but its relationship to DMN functional connectivity has yet to be investigated.

Methods: CT history and rs-fMRI data were collected in 65 individuals with schizophrenia and 132 healthy controls. Seed-based functional connectivity between each of 4 a priori defined seeds of the DMN (medial prefrontal cortex, right and left lateral parietal lobes, and the posterior cingulate cortex) and all other voxels of the brain were compared across groups. Effects of CT on functional connectivity were examined using multiple regression analyses. Where significant associations were observed, regression analyses were further used to determine whether variance in behavioral measures of Theory of Mind (ToM), previously associated with DMN recruitment, were explained by these associations.

Results: Seed-based analyses revealed evidence of widespread reductions in functional connectivity in patients vs controls, including between the left/right parietal lobe (LP) and multiple other regions, including the parietal operculum bilaterally. Across all subjects, increased CT scores were associated with reduced prefrontal-parietal connectivity and, in patients, with increased prefrontal-cerebellar connectivity also. These CT-associated differences in DMN connectivity also predicted variation in behavioral measures of ToM.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that CT history is associated with variation in DMN connectivity during rs-fMRI in patients with schizophrenia and healthy participants, which may partly mediate associations observed between early life adversity and cognitive performance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbab025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8379545PMC
August 2021

1q21.1 distal copy number variants are associated with cerebral and cognitive alterations in humans.

Transl Psychiatry 2021 03 22;11(1):182. Epub 2021 Mar 22.

Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, United Kingdom.

Low-frequency 1q21.1 distal deletion and duplication copy number variant (CNV) carriers are predisposed to multiple neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia, autism and intellectual disability. Human carriers display a high prevalence of micro- and macrocephaly in deletion and duplication carriers, respectively. The underlying brain structural diversity remains largely unknown. We systematically called CNVs in 38 cohorts from the large-scale ENIGMA-CNV collaboration and the UK Biobank and identified 28 1q21.1 distal deletion and 22 duplication carriers and 37,088 non-carriers (48% male) derived from 15 distinct magnetic resonance imaging scanner sites. With standardized methods, we compared subcortical and cortical brain measures (all) and cognitive performance (UK Biobank only) between carrier groups also testing for mediation of brain structure on cognition. We identified positive dosage effects of copy number on intracranial volume (ICV) and total cortical surface area, with the largest effects in frontal and cingulate cortices, and negative dosage effects on caudate and hippocampal volumes. The carriers displayed distinct cognitive deficit profiles in cognitive tasks from the UK Biobank with intermediate decreases in duplication carriers and somewhat larger in deletion carriers-the latter potentially mediated by ICV or cortical surface area. These results shed light on pathobiological mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders, by demonstrating gene dose effect on specific brain structures and effect on cognitive function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-021-01213-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7985307PMC
March 2021

Rare Copy Number Variants Are Associated With Poorer Cognition in Schizophrenia.

Biol Psychiatry 2021 07 19;90(1):28-34. Epub 2020 Dec 19.

MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Background: Cognitive impairment in schizophrenia is a major contributor to poor outcomes, yet its causes are poorly understood. Some rare copy number variants (CNVs) are associated with schizophrenia risk and affect cognition in healthy populations, but their contribution to cognitive impairment in schizophrenia has not been investigated. We examined the effect of 12 schizophrenia CNVs on cognition in those with schizophrenia.

Methods: General cognitive ability was measured using the Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia composite z score in 875 patients with schizophrenia and in a replication sample of 519 patients with schizophrenia using Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Full Scale IQ. Using linear regression, we tested for association between cognition and schizophrenia CNV status, covarying for age and sex. In addition, we tested whether CNVs hitting genes in schizophrenia-enriched gene sets (loss-of-function intolerant and synaptic gene sets) were associated with cognitive impairment.

Results: A total of 23 schizophrenia CNV carriers were identified. Schizophrenia CNV carriers had lower general cognitive ability than nonschizophrenia CNV carriers in discovery (β = -0.66, 95% confidence interval [CI] = -1.31 to -0.01) and replication samples (β = -0.91, 95% CI = -1.71 to -0.11) and after meta-analysis (β = -0.76, 95% CI = -1.26 to -0.25, p = .003). CNVs hitting loss-of-function intolerant genes were associated with lower cognition (β = -0.15, 95% CI = -0.29 to -0.001, p = .048).

Conclusions: In those with schizophrenia, cognitive ability in schizophrenia CNV carriers is 0.5-1.0 standard deviations below non-CNV carriers, which may have implications for clinical assessment and management. We also demonstrate that rare CNVs hitting genes intolerant to loss-of-function variation lead to more severe cognitive impairment, above and beyond the effect of known schizophrenia CNVs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2020.11.025DOI Listing
July 2021

DNA methylation meta-analysis reveals cellular alterations in psychosis and markers of treatment-resistant schizophrenia.

Elife 2021 Feb 26;10. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany.

We performed a systematic analysis of blood DNA methylation profiles from 4483 participants from seven independent cohorts identifying differentially methylated positions (DMPs) associated with psychosis, schizophrenia, and treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Psychosis cases were characterized by significant differences in measures of blood cell proportions and elevated smoking exposure derived from the DNA methylation data, with the largest differences seen in treatment-resistant schizophrenia patients. We implemented a stringent pipeline to meta-analyze epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) results across datasets, identifying 95 DMPs associated with psychosis and 1048 DMPs associated with schizophrenia, with evidence of colocalization to regions nominated by genetic association studies of disease. Many schizophrenia-associated DNA methylation differences were only present in patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia, potentially reflecting exposure to the atypical antipsychotic clozapine. Our results highlight how DNA methylation data can be leveraged to identify physiological (e.g., differential cell counts) and environmental (e.g., smoking) factors associated with psychosis and molecular biomarkers of treatment-resistant schizophrenia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.58430DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8009672PMC
February 2021

SATB2-LEMD2 interaction links nuclear shape plasticity to regulation of cognition-related genes.

EMBO J 2021 Feb 15;40(3):e103701. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Institute for Neuroscience, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.

SATB2 is a schizophrenia risk gene and is genetically associated with human intelligence. How it affects cognition at molecular level is currently unknown. Here, we show that interactions between SATB2, a chromosomal scaffolding protein, and the inner nuclear membrane protein LEMD2 orchestrate the response of pyramidal neurons to neuronal activation. Exposure to novel environment in vivo causes changes in nuclear shape of CA1 hippocampal neurons via a SATB2-dependent mechanism. The activity-driven plasticity of the nuclear envelope requires not only SATB2, but also its protein interactor LEMD2 and the ESCRT-III/VPS4 membrane-remodeling complex. Furthermore, LEMD2 depletion in cortical neurons, similar to SATB2 ablation, affects neuronal activity-dependent regulation of multiple rapid and delayed primary response genes. In human genetic data, LEMD2-regulated genes are enriched for de novo mutations reported in intellectual disability and schizophrenia and are, like SATB2-regulated genes, enriched for common variants associated with schizophrenia and cognitive function. Hence, interactions between SATB2 and the inner nuclear membrane protein LEMD2 influence gene expression programs in pyramidal neurons that are linked to cognitive ability and psychiatric disorder etiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/embj.2019103701DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7849313PMC
February 2021

Childhood trauma, brain structure and emotion recognition in patients with schizophrenia and healthy participants.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2020 12;15(12):1336-1350

School of Psychology, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland.

Childhood trauma, and in particular physical neglect, has been repeatedly associated with lower performance on measures of social cognition (e.g. emotion recognition tasks) in both psychiatric and non-clinical populations. The neural mechanisms underpinning this association have remained unclear. Here, we investigated whether volumetric changes in three stress-sensitive regions-the amygdala, hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)-mediate the association between childhood trauma and emotion recognition in a healthy participant sample (N = 112) and a clinical sample of patients with schizophrenia (N = 46). Direct effects of childhood trauma, specifically physical neglect, on Emotion Recognition Task were observed in the whole sample. In healthy participants, reduced total and left ACC volumes were observed to fully mediate the association between both physical neglect and total childhood trauma score, and emotion recognition. No mediating effects of the hippocampus and amygdala volumes were observed for either group. These results suggest that reduced ACC volume may represent part of the mechanism by which early life adversity results in poorer social cognitive function. Confirmation of the causal basis of this association would highlight the importance of resilience-building interventions to mitigate the detrimental effects of childhood trauma on brain structure and function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsaa160DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7759212PMC
December 2020

Genes influenced by MEF2C contribute to neurodevelopmental disease via gene expression changes that affect multiple types of cortical excitatory neurons.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 May;30(11):961-970

Cognitive Genetics and Cognitive Therapy Group, Centre for Neuroimaging, Cognition and Genomics, School of Psychology and Discipline of Biochemistry, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway H91CF50, Ireland.

Myocyte enhancer factor 2 C (MEF2C) is an important transcription factor during neurodevelopment. Mutation or deletion of MEF2C causes intellectual disability (ID), and common variants within MEF2C are associated with cognitive function and schizophrenia risk. We investigated if genes influenced by MEF2C during neurodevelopment are enriched for genes associated with neurodevelopmental phenotypes and if this can be leveraged to identify biological mechanisms and individual brain cell types affected. We used a set of 1055 genes that were differentially expressed in the adult mouse brain following early embryonic deletion of Mef2c in excitatory cortical neurons. Using genome-wide association studies data, we found these differentially expressed genes (DEGs) to be enriched for genes associated with schizophrenia, intelligence and educational attainment but not autism spectrum disorder (ASD). For this gene set, genes that overlap with target genes of the Fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) are a major driver of these enrichments. Using trios data, we found these DEGs to be enriched for genes containing de novo mutations reported in ASD and ID, but not schizophrenia. Using single-cell RNA sequencing data, we identified that a number of different excitatory glutamatergic neurons in the cortex were enriched for these DEGs including deep layer pyramidal cells and cells in the retrosplenial cortex, entorhinal cortex and subiculum, and these cell types are also enriched for FMRP target genes. The involvement of MEF2C and FMRP in synapse elimination suggests that disruption of this process in these cell types during neurodevelopment contributes to cognitive function and risk of neurodevelopmental disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddaa213DOI Listing
May 2021

Effects of complement gene-set polygenic risk score on brain volume and cortical measures in patients with psychotic disorders and healthy controls.

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2020 12 12;183(8):445-453. Epub 2020 Sep 12.

Cognitive Genetics & Cognitive Therapy Group, The Centre for Neuroimaging, Cognition and Genomics (NICOG), School of Psychology and Discipline of Biochemistry, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland.

Multiple genome-wide association studies of schizophrenia have reported associations between genetic variants within the MHC region and disease risk, an association that has been partially accounted for by alleles of the complement component 4 (C4) gene. Following on previous findings of association between both C4 and other complement-related variants and memory function, we tested the hypothesis that polygenic scores calculated based on identified schizophrenia risk alleles within the "complement" system would be broadly associated with memory function and associated brain structure. We tested this using a polygenic risk score (PRS) calculated for complement genes, but excluding C4 variants. Higher complement-based PRS scores were observed to be associated with lower memory scores for the sample as a whole (N = 620, F change = 8.25; p = .004). A significant association between higher PRS and lower hippocampal volume was also observed (N = 216, R change = 0.016, p = .015). However, after correcting for further testing of association with the more general indices of cortical thickness, surface area or total brain volume, none of which were associated with complement, the association with hippocampal volume became non-significant. A post-hoc analysis of hippocampal subfields suggested an association between complement PRS and several hippocampal subfields, findings that appeared to be particularly driven by the patient sample. In conclusion, our study yielded suggestive evidence of association between complement-based schizophrenia PRS and variation in memory function and hippocampal volume.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.32820DOI Listing
December 2020

Childhood trauma, parental bonding, and social cognition in patients with schizophrenia and healthy adults.

J Clin Psychol 2021 01 12;77(1):241-253. Epub 2020 Aug 12.

School of Psychology, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland.

Objective: This study investigated associations between childhood trauma, parental bonding, and social cognition (i.e., Theory of Mind and emotion recognition) in patients with schizophrenia and healthy adults.

Methods: Using cross-sectional data, we examined the recollections of childhood trauma experiences and social cognitive abilities in 74 patients with schizophrenia and 116 healthy adults.

Results: Patients had significantly higher scores compared with healthy participants on childhood trauma, and lower scores on parental bonding and social cognitive measures. Physical neglect was found to be the strongest predictor of emotion recognition impairments in both groups. Optimal parental bonding attenuated the impact of childhood trauma on emotion recognition.

Conclusion: The present study provides evidence of an association between physical neglect and emotion recognition in patients with schizophrenia and healthy individuals and shows that both childhood trauma and parental bonding may influence social cognitive development. Psychosocial interventions should be developed to prevent and mitigate the long-term effects of childhood adversities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jclp.23023DOI Listing
January 2021

Genes regulated by BCL11B during T-cell development are enriched for de novo mutations found in schizophrenia patients.

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2020 09 29;183(6):370-379. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Cognitive Genetics and Cognitive Therapy Group, Centre for Neuroimaging & Cognitive Genomics, School of Psychology and Discipline of Biochemistry, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland.

While abnormal neurodevelopment contributes to schizophrenia (SCZ) risk, there is also evidence to support a role for immune dysfunction in SCZ. BCL11B, associated with SCZ in genome-wide association study (GWAS), is a transcription factor that regulates the differentiation and development of cells in the central nervous and immune systems. Here, we use functional genomics data from studies of BCL11B to investigate the contribution of neuronal and immune processes to SCZ pathophysiology. We identified the gene targets of BCL11B in brain striatal cells (n = 223 genes), double negative 4 (DN4) developing T cells (n = 114 genes) and double positive (DP) developing T cells (n = 518 genes) using an integrated analysis of RNA-seq and ChIP-seq data. No gene-set was enriched for genes containing common variants associated with SCZ but the DP gene-set was enriched for genes containing missense de novo mutations (DNMs; p = .001) using data from 3,447 SCZ trios. Post hoc analysis revealed the enrichment to be stronger for DP genes negatively regulated by BCL11B. Biological processes enriched for genes negatively regulated by BCL11B in DP gene-set included immune system development and cytokine signaling. These analyses, leveraging a GWAS-identified SCZ risk gene and data on gene expression and transcription factor binding, indicate that DNMs in immune pathways contribute to SCZ risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.32811DOI Listing
September 2020

The genetic architecture of the human cerebral cortex.

Science 2020 03;367(6484)

The cerebral cortex underlies our complex cognitive capabilities, yet little is known about the specific genetic loci that influence human cortical structure. To identify genetic variants that affect cortical structure, we conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of brain magnetic resonance imaging data from 51,665 individuals. We analyzed the surface area and average thickness of the whole cortex and 34 regions with known functional specializations. We identified 199 significant loci and found significant enrichment for loci influencing total surface area within regulatory elements that are active during prenatal cortical development, supporting the radial unit hypothesis. Loci that affect regional surface area cluster near genes in Wnt signaling pathways, which influence progenitor expansion and areal identity. Variation in cortical structure is genetically correlated with cognitive function, Parkinson's disease, insomnia, depression, neuroticism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aay6690DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7295264PMC
March 2020

Correction to: Diagnostic yield of a custom-designed multi-gene cancer panel in Irish patients with breast cancer.

Ir J Med Sci 2020 Nov;189(4):1515

Discipline of Surgery, Lambe Institute for Translational Research, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland.

The originally published version of this article contained typesetting errors in Figs. 2 and 3 legends. The correct figure legends are presented here. The original article has been corrected.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11845-020-02202-wDOI Listing
November 2020

Diagnostic yield of a custom-designed multi-gene cancer panel in Irish patients with breast cancer.

Ir J Med Sci 2020 Aug 1;189(3):849-864. Epub 2020 Feb 1.

Discipline of Surgery, Lambe Institute for Translational Research, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland.

Background: Breast cancer is genetically heterogeneous, and parellel multi-gene sequencing is the most cost- and time-efficient manner to investigate breast cancer predisposition. Numerous multi-gene panels (MGPs) are commercially available, but many include genes with weak/unproven associaton with breast cancer, or with predisposition to cancer of other types. This study investigates the utility of a custom-designed multi-gene panel in an Irish cohort with breast cancer.

Methods: A custom panel comprising 83 genes offered by 19 clinical "breast cancer predisposition" MGPs was designed and applied to germline DNA from 91 patients with breast cancer and 77 unaffected ethnicially matched controls. Variants were identified and classified using a custom pipeline.

Results: Nineteen loss-of-function (LOF) and 334 missense variants were identified. After removing common and/or benign variants, 15 LOF and 30 missense variants were analysed. Variants in known breast cancer susceptibility genes were identified, including in BRCA1 and ATM in cases, and in NF1 and CHEK2 in controls. Most variants identified were in genes associated with predisposition to cancers other than breast cancer (BRIP1, RAD50, MUTYH, and mismatch repair genes), or in genes with unknown or unproven association with cancer.

Conclusion: Using multi-gene panels enables rapid, cost-effective identification of individuals with high-risk cancer predisposition syndromes. However, this approach also leads to an increased amount of uncertain results. Clinical management of individuals with particular genetic variants in the absence of a matching phenotype/family history is challenging. Further population and functional evidence is required to fully elucidate the clinical relevance of variants in genes of uncertain significance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11845-020-02174-xDOI Listing
August 2020

Cognitive Genomics: Recent Advances and Current Challenges.

Curr Psychiatry Rep 2020 01 10;22(1). Epub 2020 Jan 10.

Neuroimaging, Cognition & Genomics (NICOG) Centre, School of Psychology and Discipline of Biochemistry, National University of Ireland Galway, Rm 1040 School of Psychology, University Road, Galway, Ireland.

Purpose Of Review: We review recent progress in uncovering the complex genetic architecture of cognition, arising primarily from genome-wide association studies (GWAS). We explore the genetic correlations between cognitive performance and neuropsychiatric disorders, the genetic and environmental factors associated with age-related cognitive decline, and speculate about the future role of genomics in the understanding of cognitive processes.

Recent Findings: Improvements in genomic methods, and the increasing availability of large datasets via consortia cooperation, have led to a greater understanding of the role played by common and rare variants in the genomics of cognition, the highly polygenic basis of cognitive function and dysfunction, and the multiple biological processes involved. Recent research has aided in our understanding of the complex biological nature of genomics of cognition. Further development of data banks and techniques to analyze this data hold significant promise for understanding cognitive ability, and for treating cognitively related disability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11920-019-1125-xDOI Listing
January 2020

Altered gene regulation as a candidate mechanism by which ciliopathy gene SDCCAG8 contributes to schizophrenia and cognitive function.

Hum Mol Genet 2020 02;29(3):407-417

Cognitive Genetics and Cognitive Therapy Group, Neuroimaging and Cognitive Genomics (NICOG) Centre, School of Psychology and Discipline of Biochemistry, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland.

Mutations in genes that encode centrosomal/ciliary proteins cause severe cognitive deficits, while common single-nucleotide polymorphisms in these genes are associated with schizophrenia (SZ) and cognition in genome-wide association studies. The role of these genes in neuropsychiatric disorders is unknown. The ciliopathy gene SDCCAG8 is associated with SZ and educational attainment (EA). Genome editing of SDCCAG8 caused defects in primary ciliogenesis and cilium-dependent cell signalling. Transcriptomic analysis of SDCCAG8-deficient cells identified differentially expressed genes that are enriched in neurodevelopmental processes such as generation of neurons and synapse organization. These processes are enriched for genes associated with SZ, human intelligence (IQ) and EA. Phenotypic analysis of SDCCAG8-deficent neuronal cells revealed impaired migration and neuronal differentiation. These data implicate ciliary signalling in the aetiology of SZ and cognitive dysfunction. We found that centrosomal/ciliary genes are enriched for association with IQ, suggesting altered gene regulation as a general model for neurodevelopmental impacts of centrosomal/ciliary genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddz292DOI Listing
February 2020

Association of Copy Number Variation of the 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 Region With Cortical and Subcortical Morphology and Cognition.

JAMA Psychiatry 2020 04;77(4):420-430

Department of Biological Psychology and Netherlands Twin Register, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Importance: Recurrent microdeletions and duplications in the genomic region 15q11.2 between breakpoints 1 (BP1) and 2 (BP2) are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. These structural variants are present in 0.5% to 1.0% of the population, making 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 the site of the most prevalent known pathogenic copy number variation (CNV). It is unknown to what extent this CNV influences brain structure and affects cognitive abilities.

Objective: To determine the association of the 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion and duplication CNVs with cortical and subcortical brain morphology and cognitive task performance.

Design, Setting, And Participants: In this genetic association study, T1-weighted brain magnetic resonance imaging were combined with genetic data from the ENIGMA-CNV consortium and the UK Biobank, with a replication cohort from Iceland. In total, 203 deletion carriers, 45 247 noncarriers, and 306 duplication carriers were included. Data were collected from August 2015 to April 2019, and data were analyzed from September 2018 to September 2019.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The associations of the CNV with global and regional measures of surface area and cortical thickness as well as subcortical volumes were investigated, correcting for age, age2, sex, scanner, and intracranial volume. Additionally, measures of cognitive ability were analyzed in the full UK Biobank cohort.

Results: Of 45 756 included individuals, the mean (SD) age was 55.8 (18.3) years, and 23 754 (51.9%) were female. Compared with noncarriers, deletion carriers had a lower surface area (Cohen d = -0.41; SE, 0.08; P = 4.9 × 10-8), thicker cortex (Cohen d = 0.36; SE, 0.07; P = 1.3 × 10-7), and a smaller nucleus accumbens (Cohen d = -0.27; SE, 0.07; P = 7.3 × 10-5). There was also a significant negative dose response on cortical thickness (β = -0.24; SE, 0.05; P = 6.8 × 10-7). Regional cortical analyses showed a localization of the effects to the frontal, cingulate, and parietal lobes. Further, cognitive ability was lower for deletion carriers compared with noncarriers on 5 of 7 tasks.

Conclusions And Relevance: These findings, from the largest CNV neuroimaging study to date, provide evidence that 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 structural variation is associated with brain morphology and cognition, with deletion carriers being particularly affected. The pattern of results fits with known molecular functions of genes in the 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 region and suggests involvement of these genes in neuronal plasticity. These neurobiological effects likely contribute to the association of this CNV with neurodevelopmental disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3779DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6822096PMC
April 2020

Beyond C4: Analysis of the complement gene pathway shows enrichment for IQ in patients with psychotic disorders and healthy controls.

Genes Brain Behav 2019 11 30;18(8):e12602. Epub 2019 Aug 30.

Cognitive Genetics & Cognitive Therapy Group, The Center for Neuroimaging, Cognition and Genomics (NICOG), School of Psychology and Discipline of Biochemistry, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland.

Variation in cognitive performance, which strongly predicts functional outcome in schizophrenia (SZ), has been associated with multiple immune-relevant genetic loci. These loci include complement component 4 (C4A), structural variation at which was recently associated with SZ risk and synaptic pruning during neurodevelopment and cognitive function. Here, we test whether this genetic association with cognition and SZ risk is specific to C4A, or extends more broadly to genes related to the complement system. Using a gene-set with an identified role in "complement" function (excluding C4A), we used MAGMA to test if this gene-set was enriched for genes associated with human intelligence and SZ risk, using genome-wide association summary statistics (IQ; N = 269 867, SZ; N = 105 318). We followed up this gene-set analysis with a complement gene-set polygenic score (PGS) regression analysis in an independent data set of patients with psychotic disorders and healthy participants with cognitive and genomic data (N = 1000). Enrichment analysis suggested that genes within the complement pathway were significantly enriched for genes associated with IQ, but not SZ. In a gene-based analysis of 90 genes, SERPING1 was the most enriched gene for the phenotype of IQ. In a PGS regression analysis, we found that a complement pathway PGS associated with IQ genome-wide association studies statistics also predicted variation in IQ in our independent sample. This association (observed across both patients and controls) remained significant after controlling for the relationship between C4A and cognition. These results suggest a robust association between the complement system and cognitive function, extending beyond structural variation at C4A.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gbb.12602DOI Listing
November 2019

The effect of breed and diet type on the global transcriptome of hepatic tissue in beef cattle divergent for feed efficiency.

BMC Genomics 2019 Jun 26;20(1):525. Epub 2019 Jun 26.

Animal and Bioscience Research Department, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre Teagasc, Grange, Dunsany, Co. Meath, Ireland.

Background: Feed efficiency is an important economic and environmental trait in beef production, which can be measured in terms of residual feed intake (RFI). Cattle selected for low-RFI (feed efficient) have similar production levels but decreased feed intake, while also emitting less methane. RFI is difficult and expensive to measure and is not widely adopted in beef production systems. However, development of DNA-based biomarkers for RFI may facilitate its adoption in genomic-assisted breeding programmes. Cattle have been shown to re-rank in terms of RFI across diets and age, while also RFI varies by breed. Therefore, we used RNA-Seq technology to investigate the hepatic transcriptome of RFI-divergent Charolais (CH) and Holstein-Friesian (HF) steers across three dietary phases to identify genes and biological pathways associated with RFI regardless of diet or breed.

Results: Residual feed intake was measured during a high-concentrate phase, a zero-grazed grass phase and a final high-concentrate phase. In total, 322 and 33 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified across all diets for CH and HF steers, respectively. Three genes, GADD45G, HP and MID1IP1, were differentially expressed in CH when both the high-concentrate zero-grazed grass diet were offered. Two canonical pathways were enriched across all diets for CH steers. These canonical pathways were related to immune function.

Conclusions: The absence of common differentially expressed genes across all dietary phases and breeds in this study supports previous reports of the re-ranking of animals in terms of RFI when offered differing diets over their lifetime. However, we have identified biological processes such as the immune response and lipid metabolism as potentially associated with RFI divergence emphasising the previously reported roles of these biological processes with respect to RFI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-5906-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6593537PMC
June 2019

The Relationship Between Polygenic Risk Scores and Cognition in Schizophrenia.

Schizophr Bull 2020 02;46(2):336-344

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK.

Background: Cognitive impairment is a clinically important feature of schizophrenia. Polygenic risk score (PRS) methods have demonstrated genetic overlap between schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD), educational attainment (EA), and IQ, but very few studies have examined associations between these PRS and cognitive phenotypes within schizophrenia cases.

Methods: We combined genetic and cognitive data in 3034 schizophrenia cases from 11 samples using the general intelligence factor g as the primary measure of cognition. We used linear regression to examine the association between cognition and PRS for EA, IQ, schizophrenia, BD, and MDD. The results were then meta-analyzed across all samples. A genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of cognition was conducted in schizophrenia cases.

Results: PRS for both population IQ (P = 4.39 × 10-28) and EA (P = 1.27 × 10-26) were positively correlated with cognition in those with schizophrenia. In contrast, there was no association between cognition in schizophrenia cases and PRS for schizophrenia (P = .39), BD (P = .51), or MDD (P = .49). No individual variant approached genome-wide significance in the GWAS.

Conclusions: Cognition in schizophrenia cases is more strongly associated with PRS that index cognitive traits in the general population than PRS for neuropsychiatric disorders. This suggests the mechanisms of cognitive variation within schizophrenia are at least partly independent from those that predispose to schizophrenia diagnosis itself. Our findings indicate that this cognitive variation arises at least in part due to genetic factors shared with cognitive performance in populations and is not solely due to illness or treatment-related factors, although our findings are consistent with important contributions from these factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbz061DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7442352PMC
February 2020

Genome-wide association study identifies 30 loci associated with bipolar disorder.

Nat Genet 2019 05 1;51(5):793-803. Epub 2019 May 1.

Department of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, USA.

Bipolar disorder is a highly heritable psychiatric disorder. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) including 20,352 cases and 31,358 controls of European descent, with follow-up analysis of 822 variants with P < 1 × 10 in an additional 9,412 cases and 137,760 controls. Eight of the 19 variants that were genome-wide significant (P < 5 × 10) in the discovery GWAS were not genome-wide significant in the combined analysis, consistent with small effect sizes and limited power but also with genetic heterogeneity. In the combined analysis, 30 loci were genome-wide significant, including 20 newly identified loci. The significant loci contain genes encoding ion channels, neurotransmitter transporters and synaptic components. Pathway analysis revealed nine significantly enriched gene sets, including regulation of insulin secretion and endocannabinoid signaling. Bipolar I disorder is strongly genetically correlated with schizophrenia, driven by psychosis, whereas bipolar II disorder is more strongly correlated with major depressive disorder. These findings address key clinical questions and provide potential biological mechanisms for bipolar disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0397-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6956732PMC
May 2019

Population-based identity-by-descent mapping combined with exome sequencing to detect rare risk variants for schizophrenia.

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2019 04 23;180(3):223-231. Epub 2019 Feb 23.

Cognitive Genetics and Cognitive Therapy Group, Neuroimaging, Cognition & Genomics (NICOG) Centre & NCBES Galway Neuroscience Centre, School of Psychology and Discipline of Biochemistry, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland.

Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) are highly effective at identifying common risk variants for schizophrenia. Rare risk variants are also important contributors to schizophrenia etiology but, with the exception of large copy number variants, are difficult to detect with GWAS. Exome and genome sequencing, which have accelerated the study of rare variants, are expensive so alternative methods are needed to aid detection of rare variants. Here we re-analyze an Irish schizophrenia GWAS dataset (n = 3,473) by performing identity-by-descent (IBD) mapping followed by exome sequencing of individuals identified as sharing risk haplotypes to search for rare risk variants in coding regions. We identified 45 rare haplotypes (>1 cM) that were significantly more common in cases than controls. By exome sequencing 105 haplotype carriers, we investigated these haplotypes for functional coding variants that could be tested for association in independent GWAS samples. We identified one rare missense variant in PCNT but did not find statistical support for an association with schizophrenia in a replication analysis. However, IBD mapping can prioritize both individual samples and genomic regions for follow-up analysis but genome rather than exome sequencing may be more effective at detecting risk variants on rare haplotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.32716DOI Listing
April 2019

Genes encoding SATB2-interacting proteins in adult cerebral cortex contribute to human cognitive ability.

PLoS Genet 2019 02 6;15(2):e1007890. Epub 2019 Feb 6.

Institute for Neuroscience, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.

During CNS development, the nuclear protein SATB2 is expressed in superficial cortical layers and determines projection neuron identity. In the adult CNS, SATB2 is expressed in pyramidal neurons of all cortical layers and is a regulator of synaptic plasticity and long-term memory. Common variation in SATB2 locus confers risk of schizophrenia, whereas rare, de novo structural and single nucleotide variants cause severe intellectual disability and absent or limited speech. To characterize differences in SATB2 molecular function in developing vs adult neocortex, we isolated SATB2 protein interactomes at the two ontogenetic stages and identified multiple novel SATB2 interactors. SATB2 interactomes are highly enriched for proteins that stabilize de novo chromatin loops. The comparison between the neonatal and adult SATB2 protein complexes indicates a developmental shift in SATB2 molecular function, from transcriptional repression towards organization of chromosomal superstructure. Accordingly, gene sets regulated by SATB2 in the neocortex of neonatal and adult mice show limited overlap. Genes encoding SATB2 protein interactors were grouped for gene set analysis of human GWAS data. Common variants associated with human cognitive ability are enriched within the genes encoding adult but not neonatal SATB2 interactors. Our data support a shift in the function of SATB2 in cortex over lifetime and indicate that regulation of spatial chromatin architecture by the SATB2 interactome contributes to cognitive function in the general population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1007890DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6364870PMC
February 2019

Targeted Sequencing of 10,198 Samples Confirms Abnormalities in Neuronal Activity and Implicates Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels in Schizophrenia Pathogenesis.

Biol Psychiatry 2019 04 1;85(7):554-562. Epub 2018 Oct 1.

MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Background: Sequencing studies have pointed to the involvement in schizophrenia of rare coding variants in neuronally expressed genes, including activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein (ARC) and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) complexes; however, larger samples are required to reveal novel genes and specific biological mechanisms.

Methods: We sequenced 187 genes, selected for prior evidence of association with schizophrenia, in a new dataset of 5207 cases and 4991 controls. Included among these genes were members of ARC and NMDAR postsynaptic protein complexes, as well as voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels. We performed a rare variant meta-analysis with published sequencing data for a total of 11,319 cases, 15,854 controls, and 1136 trios.

Results: While no individual gene was significantly associated with schizophrenia after genome-wide correction for multiple testing, we strengthen the evidence that rare exonic variants in the ARC (p = 4.0 × 10) and NMDAR (p = 1.7 × 10) synaptic complexes are risk factors for schizophrenia. In addition, we found that loss-of-function variants and missense variants at paralog-conserved sites were enriched in voltage-gated sodium channels, particularly the alpha subunits (p = 8.6 × 10).

Conclusions: In one of the largest sequencing studies of schizophrenia to date, we provide novel evidence that multiple voltage-gated sodium channels are involved in schizophrenia pathogenesis and confirm the involvement of ARC and NMDAR postsynaptic complexes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2018.08.022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6428681PMC
April 2019

GWAS and eQTL analysis identifies a SNP associated with both residual feed intake and GFRA2 expression in beef cattle.

Sci Rep 2018 09 24;8(1):14301. Epub 2018 Sep 24.

Discipline of Biochemistry, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.

Residual feed intake (RFI), a measure of feed efficiency, is an important economic and environmental trait in beef production. Selection of low RFI (feed efficient) cattle could maintain levels of production, while decreasing feed costs and methane emissions. However, RFI is a difficult and expensive trait to measure. Identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with RFI may enable rapid, cost effective genomic selection of feed efficient cattle. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were conducted in multiple breeds followed by meta-analysis to identify genetic variants associated with RFI and component traits (average daily gain (ADG) and feed intake (FI)) in Irish beef cattle (n = 1492). Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) analysis was conducted to identify functional effects of GWAS-identified variants. Twenty-four SNPs were associated (P < 5 × 10) with RFI, ADG or FI. The variant rs43555985 exhibited strongest association for RFI (P = 8.28E-06). An eQTL was identified between this variant and GFRA2 (P = 0.0038) where the allele negatively correlated with RFI was associated with increased GFRA2 expression in liver. GFRA2 influences basal metabolic rates, suggesting a mechanism by which genetic variation may contribute to RFI. This study identified SNPs that may be useful both for genomic selection of RFI and for understanding the biology of feed efficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-32374-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6155370PMC
September 2018

Genes regulated by SATB2 during neurodevelopment contribute to schizophrenia and educational attainment.

PLoS Genet 2018 07 24;14(7):e1007515. Epub 2018 Jul 24.

Cognitive Genetics and Cognitive Therapy Group, Neuroimaging, Cognition and Genomics (NICOG) Centre and NCBES Galway Neuroscience Centre, School of Psychology and Discipline of Biochemistry, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland.

SATB2 is associated with schizophrenia and is an important transcription factor regulating neocortical organization and circuitry. Rare mutations in SATB2 cause a syndrome that includes developmental delay, and mouse studies identify an important role for SATB2 in learning and memory. Interacting partners BCL11B and GATAD2A are also schizophrenia risk genes indicating that other genes interacting with or are regulated by SATB2 are making a contribution to schizophrenia and cognition. We used data from Satb2 mouse models to generate three gene-sets that contain genes either functionally related to SATB2 or targeted by SATB2 at different stages of development. Each was tested for enrichment using the largest available genome-wide association studies (GWAS) datasets for schizophrenia and educational attainment (EA) and enrichment analysis was also performed for schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental disorders using data from rare variant sequencing studies. These SATB2 gene-sets were enriched for genes containing common variants associated with schizophrenia and EA, and were enriched for genes containing rare variants reported in studies of schizophrenia, autism and intellectual disability. In the developing cortex, genes targeted by SATB2 based on ChIP-seq data, and functionally affected when SATB2 is not expressed based on differential expression analysis using RNA-seq data, show strong enrichment for genes associated with EA. For genes expressed in the hippocampus or at the synapse, those targeted by SATB2 are more strongly enriched for genes associated EA than gene-sets not targeted by SATB2. This study demonstrates that single gene findings from GWAS can provide important insights to pathobiological processes. In this case we find evidence that genes influenced by SATB2 and involved in synaptic transmission, axon guidance and formation of the corpus callosum are contributing to schizophrenia and cognition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1007515DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6097700PMC
July 2018

Cortical Brain Abnormalities in 4474 Individuals With Schizophrenia and 5098 Control Subjects via the Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics Through Meta Analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium.

Biol Psychiatry 2018 11 14;84(9):644-654. Epub 2018 May 14.

Division of Mental Health and Addiction, NORMENT, K.G. Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.

Background: The profile of cortical neuroanatomical abnormalities in schizophrenia is not fully understood, despite hundreds of published structural brain imaging studies. This study presents the first meta-analysis of cortical thickness and surface area abnormalities in schizophrenia conducted by the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta Analysis) Schizophrenia Working Group.

Methods: The study included data from 4474 individuals with schizophrenia (mean age, 32.3 years; range, 11-78 years; 66% male) and 5098 healthy volunteers (mean age, 32.8 years; range, 10-87 years; 53% male) assessed with standardized methods at 39 centers worldwide.

Results: Compared with healthy volunteers, individuals with schizophrenia have widespread thinner cortex (left/right hemisphere: Cohen's d = -0.530/-0.516) and smaller surface area (left/right hemisphere: Cohen's d = -0.251/-0.254), with the largest effect sizes for both in frontal and temporal lobe regions. Regional group differences in cortical thickness remained significant when statistically controlling for global cortical thickness, suggesting regional specificity. In contrast, effects for cortical surface area appear global. Case-control, negative, cortical thickness effect sizes were two to three times larger in individuals receiving antipsychotic medication relative to unmedicated individuals. Negative correlations between age and bilateral temporal pole thickness were stronger in individuals with schizophrenia than in healthy volunteers. Regional cortical thickness showed significant negative correlations with normalized medication dose, symptom severity, and duration of illness and positive correlations with age at onset.

Conclusions: The findings indicate that the ENIGMA meta-analysis approach can achieve robust findings in clinical neuroscience studies; also, medication effects should be taken into account in future genetic association studies of cortical thickness in schizophrenia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2018.04.023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6177304PMC
November 2018

Effects of MiR-137 genetic risk score on brain volume and cortical measures in patients with schizophrenia and controls.

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2018 04 8;177(3):369-376. Epub 2018 Feb 8.

The Cognitive Genetics & Cognitive Therapy Group, The School of Psychology and Discipline of Biochemistry, The Centre for Neuroimaging & Cognitive Genomics, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland.

Multiple genome-wide association studies of schizophrenia have implicated genetic variants within the gene encoding microRNA-137. As risk variants within or regulated by MIR137 have been implicated in memory performance, we investigated the additive effects of schizophrenia-associated risk variants in genes empirically regulated by MIR137 on brain regions associated with memory function. A polygenic risk score (PRS) was calculated (at a p = 0.05 threshold), using this empirically regulated MIR137 gene set, to investigate associations between this PRS and structural brain measures. These measures included total brain volume, cortical thickness, cortical surface area, and hippocampal volume, in a sample of 216 individuals consisting of healthy participants (n = 171) and patients with psychosis (n = 45). We did not observe a significant association between MIR137 PRS and these cortical thickness, surface area or hippocampal volume measures linked to memory function; a significant association between increasing PRS and decreasing total brain volume, independent of diagnosis status (R  = 0.008, Beta = -0.09, p = 0.029), was observed. This did not survive correction for multiple testing. In conclusion, our study yielded only suggestive evidence that risk variants interacting with MIR137 impacts on cortical structure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.32620DOI Listing
April 2018

The Genetics of Endophenotypes of Neurofunction to Understand Schizophrenia (GENUS) consortium: A collaborative cognitive and neuroimaging genetics project.

Schizophr Res 2018 05 3;195:306-317. Epub 2017 Oct 3.

The Cognitive Genetics and Cognitive Therapy Group, Department of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.

Background: Schizophrenia has a large genetic component, and the pathways from genes to illness manifestation are beginning to be identified. The Genetics of Endophenotypes of Neurofunction to Understand Schizophrenia (GENUS) Consortium aims to clarify the role of genetic variation in brain abnormalities underlying schizophrenia. This article describes the GENUS Consortium sample collection.

Methods: We identified existing samples collected for schizophrenia studies consisting of patients, controls, and/or individuals at familial high-risk (FHR) for schizophrenia. Samples had single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array data or genomic DNA, clinical and demographic data, and neuropsychological and/or brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. Data were subjected to quality control procedures at a central site.

Results: Sixteen research groups contributed data from 5199 psychosis patients, 4877 controls, and 725 FHR individuals. All participants have relevant demographic data and all patients have relevant clinical data. The sex ratio is 56.5% male and 43.5% female. Significant differences exist between diagnostic groups for premorbid and current IQ (both p<1×10). Data from a diversity of neuropsychological tests are available for 92% of participants, and 30% have structural MRI scans (half also have diffusion-weighted MRI scans). SNP data are available for 76% of participants. The ancestry composition is 70% European, 20% East Asian, 7% African, and 3% other.

Conclusions: The Consortium is investigating the genetic contribution to brain phenotypes in a schizophrenia sample collection of >10,000 participants. The breadth of data across clinical, genetic, neuropsychological, and MRI modalities provides an important opportunity for elucidating the genetic basis of neural processes underlying schizophrenia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2017.09.024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5882601PMC
May 2018
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