Publications by authors named "Dorret I Boomsma"

885 Publications

Sex-Dependent Shared and Nonshared Genetic Architecture Across Mood and Psychotic Disorders.

Biol Psychiatry 2021 Mar 23. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, North Shore University Health System, Evanston, Illinois.

Background: Sex differences in incidence and/or presentation of schizophrenia (SCZ), major depressive disorder (MDD), and bipolar disorder (BIP) are pervasive. Previous evidence for shared genetic risk and sex differences in brain abnormalities across disorders suggest possible shared sex-dependent genetic risk.

Methods: We conducted the largest to date genome-wide genotype-by-sex (G×S) interaction of risk for these disorders using 85,735 cases (33,403 SCZ, 19,924 BIP, and 32,408 MDD) and 109,946 controls from the PGC (Psychiatric Genomics Consortium) and iPSYCH.

Results: Across disorders, genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphism-by-sex interaction was detected for a locus encompassing NKAIN2 (rs117780815, p = 3.2 × 10), which interacts with sodium/potassium-transporting ATPase (adenosine triphosphatase) enzymes, implicating neuronal excitability. Three additional loci showed evidence (p < 1 × 10) for cross-disorder G×S interaction (rs7302529, p = 1.6 × 10; rs73033497, p = 8.8 × 10; rs7914279, p = 6.4 × 10), implicating various functions. Gene-based analyses identified G×S interaction across disorders (p = 8.97 × 10) with transcriptional inhibitor SLTM. Most significant in SCZ was a MOCOS gene locus (rs11665282, p = 1.5 × 10), implicating vascular endothelial cells. Secondary analysis of the PGC-SCZ dataset detected an interaction (rs13265509, p = 1.1 × 10) in a locus containing IDO2, a kynurenine pathway enzyme with immunoregulatory functions implicated in SCZ, BIP, and MDD. Pathway enrichment analysis detected significant G×S interaction of genes regulating vascular endothelial growth factor receptor signaling in MDD (false discovery rate-corrected p < .05).

Conclusions: In the largest genome-wide G×S analysis of mood and psychotic disorders to date, there was substantial genetic overlap between the sexes. However, significant sex-dependent effects were enriched for genes related to neuronal development and immune and vascular functions across and within SCZ, BIP, and MDD at the variant, gene, and pathway levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2021.02.972DOI Listing
March 2021

Item-Level Genome-Wide Association Study of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test in Three Population-Based Cohorts.

Am J Psychiatry 2021 May 14:appiajp202020091390. Epub 2021 May 14.

Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin (Mallard, Grotzinger, Harden); Department of Complex Trait Genetics, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Savage); Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis (Johnson, Anokhin, Agrawal); Department of Psychiatry (Huang, Jennings, Palmer, Sanchez-Roige) and Institute for Genomic Medicine (Palmer), University of California San Diego, La Jolla; Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Richmond (Edwards); Department of Biological Psychiatry, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Hottenga, Nivard, de Geus, Boomsma); Department of Medicine, Division of Genetic Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn. (Gustavson, Davis, Sanchez-Roige); Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (Dick); Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Edenberg) and Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics (Lai), Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis; Department of Psychiatry, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City (Kramer); Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Meyers, Pandey); Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn. (Davis); Division of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, U.K. (Clarke).

Objective: Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), a 10-item screen for alcohol use disorder (AUD), have elucidated novel loci for alcohol consumption and misuse. However, these studies also revealed that GWASs can be influenced by numerous biases (e.g., measurement error, selection bias), which may have led to inconsistent genetic correlations between alcohol involvement and AUD, as well as paradoxically negative genetic correlations between alcohol involvement and psychiatric disorders and/or medical conditions. The authors used genomic structural equation modeling to elucidate the genetics of alcohol consumption and problematic consequences of alcohol use as measured by AUDIT.

Methods: To explore these unexpected differences in genetic correlations, the authors conducted the first item-level and the largest GWAS of AUDIT items (N=160,824) and applied a multivariate framework to mitigate previous biases.

Results: The authors identified novel patterns of similarity (and dissimilarity) among the AUDIT items and found evidence of a correlated two-factor structure at the genetic level ("consumption" and "problems," r=0.80). Moreover, by applying empirically derived weights to each of the AUDIT items, the authors constructed an aggregate measure of alcohol consumption that was strongly associated with alcohol dependence (r=0.67), moderately associated with several other psychiatric disorders, and no longer positively associated with health and positive socioeconomic outcomes. Lastly, by conducting polygenic analyses in three independent cohorts that differed in their ascertainment and prevalence of AUD, the authors identified novel genetic associations between alcohol consumption, alcohol misuse, and health.

Conclusions: This work further emphasizes the value of AUDIT for both clinical and genetic studies of AUD and the importance of using multivariate methods to study genetic associations that are more closely related to AUD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2020.20091390DOI Listing
May 2021

Genetic Meta-Analysis of Twin Birth Weight Shows High Genetic Correlation with Singleton Birth Weight.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 May 6. Epub 2021 May 6.

Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatististics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Birth weight (BW) is an important predictor of newborn survival and health and has associations with many adult health outcomes, including cardio-metabolic disorders, autoimmune diseases, and mental health. On average, twins have a lower BW than singletons as a result of a different pattern of fetal growth and shorter gestational duration. Therefore, investigations into the genetics of BW often exclude data from twins, leading to a reduction in sample size and remaining ambiguities concerning the genetic contribution to BW in twins. In this study, we carried out a genome-wide association meta-analysis of BW in 42 212 twin individuals and found a positive correlation of beta values (Pearson's r = 0.66, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.47-0.77) with 150 previously reported genome-wide significant variants for singleton BW. We identified strong positive genetic correlations between BW in twins and numerous anthropometric traits, most notably with BW in singletons (genetic correlation [rg] = 0.92, 95% CI: 0.66-1.18). Genetic correlations of BW in twins with a series of health-related traits closely resembled those previously observed for BW in singletons. Polygenic scores constructed from a genome-wide association study on BW in UK Biobank demonstrated strong predictive power in a target sample of Dutch twins and singletons. Together, our results indicate that a similar genetic architecture underlies BW in twins and singletons and that future genome-wide studies might benefit from including data from large twin registers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddab121DOI Listing
May 2021

Teacher-rated aggression and co-occurring behaviors and emotional problems among schoolchildren in four population-based European cohorts.

PLoS One 2021 29;16(4):e0238667. Epub 2021 Apr 29.

Department of Biological Psychology, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Aggressive behavior in school is an ongoing concern. The current focus is on specific manifestations such as bullying, but the behavior is broad and heterogenous. Children spend a substantial amount of time in school, but their behaviors in the school setting tend to be less well characterized than at home. Because aggression may index multiple behavioral problems, we used three validated instruments to assess means, correlations and gender differences of teacher-rated aggressive behavior with co-occurring externalizing/internalizing problems and social behavior in 39,936 schoolchildren aged 7-14 from 4 population-based cohorts from Finland, the Netherlands, and the UK. Correlations of aggressive behavior were high with all other externalizing problems (r: 0.47-0.80) and lower with internalizing problems (r: 0.02-0.39). A negative association was observed with prosocial behavior (r: -0.33 to -0.54). Mean levels of aggressive behavior differed significantly by gender. Despite the higher mean levels of aggressive behavior in boys, the correlations were notably similar for boys and girls (e.g., aggressive-hyperactivity correlations: 0.51-0.75 boys, 0.47-0.70 girls) and did not vary greatly with respect to age, instrument or cohort. Thus, teacher-rated aggressive behavior rarely occurs in isolation; boys and girls with problems of aggressive behavior likely require help with other behavioral and emotional problems. Important to note, higher aggressive behavior is not only associated with higher amounts of other externalizing and internalizing problems but also with lower levels of prosocial behavior.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0238667PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8084195PMC
April 2021

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

Transl Psychiatry 2021 Mar 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

Investigating the relationships between unfavourable habitual sleep and metabolomic traits: evidence from multi-cohort multivariable regression and Mendelian randomization analyses.

BMC Med 2021 Mar 18;19(1):69. Epub 2021 Mar 18.

Department of Human Genetics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Background: Sleep traits are associated with cardiometabolic disease risk, with evidence from Mendelian randomization (MR) suggesting that insomnia symptoms and shorter sleep duration increase coronary artery disease risk. We combined adjusted multivariable regression (AMV) and MR analyses of phenotypes of unfavourable sleep on 113 metabolomic traits to investigate possible biochemical mechanisms linking sleep to cardiovascular disease.

Methods: We used AMV (N = 17,368) combined with two-sample MR (N = 38,618) to examine effects of self-reported insomnia symptoms, total habitual sleep duration, and chronotype on 113 metabolomic traits. The AMV analyses were conducted on data from 10 cohorts of mostly Europeans, adjusted for age, sex, and body mass index. For the MR analyses, we used summary results from published European-ancestry genome-wide association studies of self-reported sleep traits and of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) serum metabolites. We used the inverse-variance weighted (IVW) method and complemented this with sensitivity analyses to assess MR assumptions.

Results: We found consistent evidence from AMV and MR analyses for associations of usual vs. sometimes/rare/never insomnia symptoms with lower citrate (- 0.08 standard deviation (SD)[95% confidence interval (CI) - 0.12, - 0.03] in AMV and - 0.03SD [- 0.07, - 0.003] in MR), higher glycoprotein acetyls (0.08SD [95% CI 0.03, 0.12] in AMV and 0.06SD [0.03, 0.10) in MR]), lower total very large HDL particles (- 0.04SD [- 0.08, 0.00] in AMV and - 0.05SD [- 0.09, - 0.02] in MR), and lower phospholipids in very large HDL particles (- 0.04SD [- 0.08, 0.002] in AMV and - 0.05SD [- 0.08, - 0.02] in MR). Longer total sleep duration associated with higher creatinine concentrations using both methods (0.02SD per 1 h [0.01, 0.03] in AMV and 0.15SD [0.02, 0.29] in MR) and with isoleucine in MR analyses (0.22SD [0.08, 0.35]). No consistent evidence was observed for effects of chronotype on metabolomic measures.

Conclusions: Whilst our results suggested that unfavourable sleep traits may not cause widespread metabolic disruption, some notable effects were observed. The evidence for possible effects of insomnia symptoms on glycoprotein acetyls and citrate and longer total sleep duration on creatinine and isoleucine might explain some of the effects, found in MR analyses of these sleep traits on coronary heart disease, which warrant further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-021-01939-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7971964PMC
March 2021

Correction for both common and rare cell types in blood is important to identify genes that correlate with age.

BMC Genomics 2021 Mar 15;22(1):184. Epub 2021 Mar 15.

Department of Genetics, University Medical Centre Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Background: Aging is a multifactorial process that affects multiple tissues and is characterized by changes in homeostasis over time, leading to increased morbidity. Whole blood gene expression signatures have been associated with aging and have been used to gain information on its biological mechanisms, which are still not fully understood. However, blood is composed of many cell types whose proportions in blood vary with age. As a result, previously observed associations between gene expression levels and aging might be driven by cell type composition rather than intracellular aging mechanisms. To overcome this, previous aging studies already accounted for major cell types, but the possibility that the reported associations are false positives driven by less prevalent cell subtypes remains.

Results: Here, we compared the regression model from our previous work to an extended model that corrects for 33 additional white blood cell subtypes. Both models were applied to whole blood gene expression data from 3165 individuals belonging to the general population (age range of 18-81 years). We evaluated that the new model is a better fit for the data and it identified fewer genes associated with aging (625, compared to the 2808 of the initial model; P ≤ 2.5⨯10). Moreover, 511 genes (~ 18% of the 2808 genes identified by the initial model) were found using both models, indicating that the other previously reported genes could be proxies for less abundant cell types. In particular, functional enrichment of the genes identified by the new model highlighted pathways and GO terms specifically associated with platelet activity.

Conclusions: We conclude that gene expression analyses in blood strongly benefit from correction for both common and rare blood cell types, and recommend using blood-cell count estimates as standard covariates when studying whole blood gene expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-020-07344-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7958454PMC
March 2021

The association between genetically determined ABO blood types and major depressive disorder.

Psychiatry Res 2021 May 24;299:113837. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medicine Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany; German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Site Rostock/Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany.

ABO blood types and their corresponding antigens have long been assumed to be related to different human diseases. So far, smaller studies on the relationship between mental disorders and blood types yielded contradicting results. In this study we analyzed the association between ABO blood types and lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD). We performed a pooled analysis with data from 26 cohorts that are part of the MDD working group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC). The dataset included 37,208 individuals of largely European ancestry of which 41.6% were diagnosed with lifetime MDD. ABO blood types were identified using three single nucleotide polymorphisms in the ABO gene: rs505922, rs8176746 and rs8176747. Regression analyses were performed to assess associations between the individual ABO blood types and MDD diagnosis as well as putative interaction effects with sex. The models were adjusted for sex, cohort and the first ten genetic principal components. The percentage of blood type A was slightly lower in cases than controls while blood type O was more prominent in cases. However, these differences were not statistically significant. Our analyses found no evidence of an association between ABO blood types and major depressive disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2021.113837DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8071927PMC
May 2021

Effects of copy number variations on brain structure and risk for psychiatric illness: Large-scale studies from the ENIGMA working groups on CNVs.

Hum Brain Mapp 2021 Feb 21. Epub 2021 Feb 21.

Center for Neuroimaging, Genetics and Genomics, School of Psychology, NUI Galway, Galway, Ireland.

The Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis copy number variant (ENIGMA-CNV) and 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome Working Groups (22q-ENIGMA WGs) were created to gain insight into the involvement of genetic factors in human brain development and related cognitive, psychiatric and behavioral manifestations. To that end, the ENIGMA-CNV WG has collated CNV and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from ~49,000 individuals across 38 global research sites, yielding one of the largest studies to date on the effects of CNVs on brain structures in the general population. The 22q-ENIGMA WG includes 12 international research centers that assessed over 533 individuals with a confirmed 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, 40 with 22q11.2 duplications, and 333 typically developing controls, creating the largest-ever 22q11.2 CNV neuroimaging data set. In this review, we outline the ENIGMA infrastructure and procedures for multi-site analysis of CNVs and MRI data. So far, ENIGMA has identified effects of the 22q11.2, 16p11.2 distal, 15q11.2, and 1q21.1 distal CNVs on subcortical and cortical brain structures. Each CNV is associated with differences in cognitive, neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric traits, with characteristic patterns of brain structural abnormalities. Evidence of gene-dosage effects on distinct brain regions also emerged, providing further insight into genotype-phenotype relationships. Taken together, these results offer a more comprehensive picture of molecular mechanisms involved in typical and atypical brain development. This "genotype-first" approach also contributes to our understanding of the etiopathogenesis of brain disorders. Finally, we outline future directions to better understand effects of CNVs on brain structure and behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25354DOI Listing
February 2021

Associations between the CADM2 gene, substance use, risky sexual behavior, and self-control: A phenome-wide association study.

Addict Biol 2021 Feb 18:e13015. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, The Netherlands.

Risky behaviors, such as substance use and unprotected sex, are associated with various physical and mental health problems. Recent genome-wide association studies indicated that variation in the cell adhesion molecule 2 (CADM2) gene plays a role in risky behaviors and self-control. In this phenome-wide scan for risky behavior, it was tested if underlying common vulnerability could be (partly) explained by pleiotropic effects of this gene and how large the effects were. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-level and gene-level association tests within four samples (25 and Up, Spit for Science, Netherlands Twin Register, and UK Biobank and meta-analyses over all samples (combined sample of 362,018 participants) were conducted to test associations between CADM2, substance- and sex-related risk behaviors, and various measures related to self-control. We found significant associations between the CADM2 gene, various risky behaviors, and different measures of self-control. The largest effect sizes were found for cannabis use, sensation seeking, and disinhibition. Effect sizes ranged from 0.01% to 0.26% for single top SNPs and from 0.07% to 3.02% for independent top SNPs together, with sufficient power observed only in the larger samples and meta-analyses. In the largest cohort, we found indications that risk-taking proneness mediated the association between CADM2 and latent factors for lifetime smoking and regular alcohol use. This study extends earlier findings that CADM2 plays a role in risky behaviors and self-control. It also provides insight into gene-level effect sizes and demonstrates the feasibility of testing mediation. These findings present a good starting point for investigating biological etiological pathways underlying risky behaviors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/adb.13015DOI Listing
February 2021

Cortical thickness across the lifespan: Data from 17,075 healthy individuals aged 3-90 years.

Hum Brain Mapp 2021 Feb 17. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Laboratory of Psychiatric Neuroimaging, Departamento e Instituto de Psiquiatria, Hospital das Clinicas HCFMUSP, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

Delineating the association of age and cortical thickness in healthy individuals is critical given the association of cortical thickness with cognition and behavior. Previous research has shown that robust estimates of the association between age and brain morphometry require large-scale studies. In response, we used cross-sectional data from 17,075 individuals aged 3-90 years from the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium to infer age-related changes in cortical thickness. We used fractional polynomial (FP) regression to quantify the association between age and cortical thickness, and we computed normalized growth centiles using the parametric Lambda, Mu, and Sigma method. Interindividual variability was estimated using meta-analysis and one-way analysis of variance. For most regions, their highest cortical thickness value was observed in childhood. Age and cortical thickness showed a negative association; the slope was steeper up to the third decade of life and more gradual thereafter; notable exceptions to this general pattern were entorhinal, temporopolar, and anterior cingulate cortices. Interindividual variability was largest in temporal and frontal regions across the lifespan. Age and its FP combinations explained up to 59% variance in cortical thickness. These results may form the basis of further investigation on normative deviation in cortical thickness and its significance for behavioral and cognitive outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25364DOI Listing
February 2021

Onset of Preclinical Alzheimer Disease in Monozygotic Twins.

Ann Neurol 2021 05 4;89(5):987-1000. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Objective: The present work was undertaken to study the genetic contribution to the start of Alzheimer's disease (AD) with amyloid and tau biomarkers in cognitively intact older identical twins.

Methods: We studied in 96 monozygotic twin-pairs relationships between amyloid-beta (Aβ) aggregation as measured by the Aβ1-42/1-40 ratio in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF; n = 126) and positron emission tomography (PET, n = 194), and CSF markers for Aβ production (beta-secretase 1, Aβ1-40, and Aβ1-38) and CSF tau. Associations among markers were tested with generalized estimating equations including a random effect for twin status, adjusted for age, gender, and apolipoprotein E ε4 genotype. We used twin analyses to determine relative contributions of genetic and/or environmental factors to AD pathophysiological processes.

Results: Twenty-seven individuals (14%) had an abnormal amyloid PET, and 14 twin-pairs (15%) showed discordant amyloid PET scans. Within twin-pairs, Aβ production markers and total-tau (t-tau) levels strongly correlated (r range = 0.73-0.86, all p < 0.0001), and Aβ aggregation markers and 181-phosphorylated-tau (p-tau) levels correlated moderately strongly (r range = 0.50-0.64, all p < 0.0001). Cross-twin cross-trait analysis showed that Aβ1-38 in one twin correlated with Aβ1-42/1-40 ratios, and t-tau and p-tau levels in their cotwins (r range = -0.28 to 0.58, all p < .007). Within-pair differences in Aβ production markers related to differences in tau levels (r range = 0.49-0.61, all p < 0.0001). Twin discordance analyses suggest that Aβ production and tau levels show coordinated increases in very early AD.

Interpretation: Our results suggest a substantial genetic/shared environmental background contributes to both Aβ and tau increases, suggesting that modulation of environmental risk factors may aid in delaying the onset of AD pathophysiological processes. ANN NEUROL 2021;89:987-1000.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.26048DOI Listing
May 2021

Reliability modelling of resting-state functional connectivity.

Neuroimage 2021 05 11;231:117842. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

Brain Center Rudolf Magnus and Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, Netherlands.

Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) has an inherently low signal-to-noise ratio largely due to thermal and physiological noise that attenuates the functional connectivity (FC) estimates. Such attenuation limits the reliability of FC and may bias its association with other traits. Low reliability also limits heritability estimates. Classical test theory can be used to obtain a true correlation estimate free of random measurement error from parallel tests, such as split-half sessions of a rs-fMRI scan. We applied a measurement model to split-half FC estimates from the resting-state fMRI data of 1003 participants from the Human Connectome Project (HCP) to examine the benefit of reliability modelling of FC in association with traits from various domains. We evaluated the efficiency of the measurement model on extracting a stable and reliable component of FC and its association with several traits for various sample sizes and scan durations. In addition, we aimed to replicate our previous findings of increased heritability estimates when using a measurement model in a longitudinal adolescent twin cohort. The split-half measurement model improved test-retest reliability of FC on average with +0.33 points (from +0.49 to +0.82), improved strength of associations between FC and various traits on average 1.2-fold (range 1.09-1.35), and increased heritability estimates on average with +20% points (from 39% to 59%) for the full HCP dataset. On average, about half of the variance in split-session FC estimates was attributed to the stable and reliable component of FC. Shorter scan durations showed greater benefit of reliability modelling (up to 1.6-fold improvement), with an additional gain for smaller sample sizes (up to 1.8-fold improvement). Reliability modelling of FC based on a split-half using a measurement model can benefit genetic and behavioral studies by extracting a stable and reliable component of FC that is free from random measurement error and improves genetic and behavioral associations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.117842DOI Listing
May 2021

Subcortical volumes across the lifespan: Data from 18,605 healthy individuals aged 3-90 years.

Hum Brain Mapp 2021 Feb 11. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

Department of Psychology, Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Age has a major effect on brain volume. However, the normative studies available are constrained by small sample sizes, restricted age coverage and significant methodological variability. These limitations introduce inconsistencies and may obscure or distort the lifespan trajectories of brain morphometry. In response, we capitalized on the resources of the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium to examine age-related trajectories inferred from cross-sectional measures of the ventricles, the basal ganglia (caudate, putamen, pallidum, and nucleus accumbens), the thalamus, hippocampus and amygdala using magnetic resonance imaging data obtained from 18,605 individuals aged 3-90 years. All subcortical structure volumes were at their maximum value early in life. The volume of the basal ganglia showed a monotonic negative association with age thereafter; there was no significant association between age and the volumes of the thalamus, amygdala and the hippocampus (with some degree of decline in thalamus) until the sixth decade of life after which they also showed a steep negative association with age. The lateral ventricles showed continuous enlargement throughout the lifespan. Age was positively associated with inter-individual variability in the hippocampus and amygdala and the lateral ventricles. These results were robust to potential confounders and could be used to examine the functional significance of deviations from typical age-related morphometric patterns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25320DOI Listing
February 2021

Obesity and atypical depression symptoms: findings from Mendelian randomization in two European cohorts.

Transl Psychiatry 2021 Feb 4;11(1):96. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Institute of Primary Care and Public Health (Unisante), University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Studies considering the causal role of body mass index (BMI) for the predisposition of major depressive disorder (MDD) based on a Mendelian Randomization (MR) approach have shown contradictory results. These inconsistent findings may be attributable to the heterogeneity of MDD; in fact, several studies have documented associations between BMI and mainly the atypical subtype of MDD. Using a MR approach, we investigated the potential causal role of obesity in both the atypical subtype and its five specific symptoms assessed according to the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), in two large European cohorts, CoLaus|PsyCoLaus (n = 3350, 1461 cases and 1889 controls) and NESDA|NTR (n = 4139, 1182 cases and 2957 controls). We first tested general obesity measured by BMI and then the body fat distribution measured by waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Results suggested that BMI is potentially causally related to the symptom increase in appetite, for which inverse variance weighted, simple median and weighted median MR regression estimated slopes were 0.68 (SE = 0.23, p = 0.004), 0.77 (SE = 0.37, p = 0.036), and 1.11 (SE = 0.39, p = 0.004). No causal effect of BMI or WHR was found on the risk of the atypical subtype or for any of the other atypical symptoms. Our findings show that higher obesity is likely causal for the specific symptom of increase in appetite in depressed participants and reiterate the need to study depression at the granular level of its symptoms to further elucidate potential causal relationships and gain additional insight into its biological underpinnings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-021-01236-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7862438PMC
February 2021

Incorporating Polygenic Risk Scores in the ACE Twin Model to Estimate A-C Covariance.

Behav Genet 2021 May 1;51(3):237-249. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Netherlands Twin Register, Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Transitorium 2B03, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The assumption in the twin model that genotypic and environmental variables are uncorrelated is primarily made to ensure parameter identification, not because researchers necessarily think that these variables are uncorrelated. Although the biasing effects of such correlations are well understood, a method to estimate these parameters in the twin model would be useful. Here we explore the possibility of relaxing this assumption by adding polygenic scores to the (univariate) twin model. We demonstrate that this extension renders the additive genetic (A)-common environmental (C) covariance (σ) identified. We study the statistical power to reject σ = 0 in the ACE model and present the results of simulations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10519-020-10035-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8093156PMC
May 2021

Genome-wide association study of circulating interleukin 6 levels identifies novel loci.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 Apr;30(5):393-409

Institute of Cardiovascular Science, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK.

Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is a multifunctional cytokine with both pro- and anti-inflammatory properties with a heritability estimate of up to 61%. The circulating levels of IL-6 in blood have been associated with an increased risk of complex disease pathogenesis. We conducted a two-staged, discovery and replication meta genome-wide association study (GWAS) of circulating serum IL-6 levels comprising up to 67 428 (ndiscovery = 52 654 and nreplication = 14 774) individuals of European ancestry. The inverse variance fixed effects based discovery meta-analysis, followed by replication led to the identification of two independent loci, IL1F10/IL1RN rs6734238 on chromosome (Chr) 2q14, (Pcombined = 1.8 × 10-11), HLA-DRB1/DRB5 rs660895 on Chr6p21 (Pcombined = 1.5 × 10-10) in the combined meta-analyses of all samples. We also replicated the IL6R rs4537545 locus on Chr1q21 (Pcombined = 1.2 × 10-122). Our study identifies novel loci for circulating IL-6 levels uncovering new immunological and inflammatory pathways that may influence IL-6 pathobiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddab023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8098112PMC
April 2021

Healthy Cotwins Share Gut Microbiome Signatures With Their Inflammatory Bowel Disease Twins and Unrelated Patients.

Gastroenterology 2021 May 19;160(6):1970-1985. Epub 2021 Jan 19.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands; Department of Genetics, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: It is currently unclear whether reported changes in the gut microbiome are cause or consequence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Therefore, we studied the gut microbiome of IBD-discordant and -concordant twin pairs, which offers the unique opportunity to assess individuals at increased risk of developing IBD, namely healthy cotwins from IBD-discordant twin pairs.

Methods: Fecal samples were obtained from 99 twins (belonging to 51 twin pairs), 495 healthy age-, sex-, and body mass index-matched controls, and 99 unrelated patients with IBD. Whole-genome metagenomic shotgun sequencing was performed. Taxonomic and functional (pathways) composition was compared among healthy cotwins, IBD-twins, unrelated patients with IBD, and healthy controls with multivariable (ie, adjusted for potential confounding) generalized linear models.

Results: No significant differences were observed in the relative abundance of species and pathways between healthy cotwins and their IBD-twins (false discovery rate <0.10). Compared with healthy controls, 13, 19, and 18 species, and 78, 105, and 153 pathways were found to be differentially abundant in healthy cotwins, IBD-twins, and unrelated patients with IBD, respectively (false discovery rate <0.10). Of these, 8 (42.1%) of 19 and 1 (5.6%) of 18 species, and 37 (35.2%) of 105 and 30 (19.6%) of 153 pathways overlapped between healthy cotwins and IBD-twins, and healthy cotwins and unrelated patients with IBD, respectively. Many of the shared species and pathways have previously been associated with IBD. The shared pathways include potentially inflammation-related pathways, for example, an increase in propionate degradation and L-arginine degradation pathways.

Conclusions: The gut microbiome of healthy cotwins from IBD-discordant twin pairs displays IBD-like signatures. These IBD-like microbiome signatures might precede the onset of IBD. However, longitudinal follow-up studies are needed to infer a causal relationship.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2021.01.030DOI Listing
May 2021

Large-scale association analyses identify host factors influencing human gut microbiome composition.

Nat Genet 2021 02 18;53(2):156-165. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology, King's College London, London, UK.

To study the effect of host genetics on gut microbiome composition, the MiBioGen consortium curated and analyzed genome-wide genotypes and 16S fecal microbiome data from 18,340 individuals (24 cohorts). Microbial composition showed high variability across cohorts: only 9 of 410 genera were detected in more than 95% of samples. A genome-wide association study of host genetic variation regarding microbial taxa identified 31 loci affecting the microbiome at a genome-wide significant (P < 5 × 10) threshold. One locus, the lactase (LCT) gene locus, reached study-wide significance (genome-wide association study signal: P = 1.28 × 10), and it showed an age-dependent association with Bifidobacterium abundance. Other associations were suggestive (1.95 × 10 < P < 5 × 10) but enriched for taxa showing high heritability and for genes expressed in the intestine and brain. A phenome-wide association study and Mendelian randomization identified enrichment of microbiome trait loci in the metabolic, nutrition and environment domains and suggested the microbiome might have causal effects in ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-00763-1DOI Listing
February 2021

Bayesian evidence synthesis in case of multi-cohort datasets: An illustration by multi-informant differences in self-control.

Dev Cogn Neurosci 2021 Feb 26;47:100904. Epub 2020 Dec 26.

University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

The trend toward large-scale collaborative studies gives rise to the challenge of combining data from different sources efficiently. Here, we demonstrate how Bayesian evidence synthesis can be used to quantify and compare support for competing hypotheses and to aggregate this support over studies. We applied this method to study the ordering of multi-informant scores on the ASEBA Self Control Scale (ASCS), employing a multi-cohort design with data from four Dutch cohorts. Self-control reports were collected from mothers, fathers, teachers and children themselves. The available set of reporters differed between cohorts, so in each cohort varying components of the overarching hypotheses were evaluated. We found consistent support for the partial hypothesis that parents reported more self-control problems than teachers. Furthermore, the aggregated results indicate most support for the combined hypothesis that children report most problem behaviors, followed by their mothers and fathers, and that teachers report the fewest problems. However, there was considerable inconsistency across cohorts regarding the rank order of children's reports. This article illustrates Bayesian evidence synthesis as a method when some of the cohorts only have data to evaluate a partial hypothesis. With Bayesian evidence synthesis, these cohorts can still contribute to the aggregated results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2020.100904DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7807202PMC
February 2021

DNA methylation signatures of aggression and closely related constructs: A meta-analysis of epigenome-wide studies across the lifespan.

Mol Psychiatry 2021 Jan 8. Epub 2021 Jan 8.

Department of Clinical Chemistry, Fimlab Laboratories, and Finnish Cardiovascular Research Center-Tampere, Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University, Tampere, 33520, Finland.

DNA methylation profiles of aggressive behavior may capture lifetime cumulative effects of genetic, stochastic, and environmental influences associated with aggression. Here, we report the first large meta-analysis of epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) of aggressive behavior (N = 15,324 participants). In peripheral blood samples of 14,434 participants from 18 cohorts with mean ages ranging from 7 to 68 years, 13 methylation sites were significantly associated with aggression (alpha = 1.2 × 10; Bonferroni correction). In cord blood samples of 2425 children from five cohorts with aggression assessed at mean ages ranging from 4 to 7 years, 83% of these sites showed the same direction of association with childhood aggression (r = 0.74, p = 0.006) but no epigenome-wide significant sites were found. Top-sites (48 at a false discovery rate of 5% in the peripheral blood meta-analysis or in a combined meta-analysis of peripheral blood and cord blood) have been associated with chemical exposures, smoking, cognition, metabolic traits, and genetic variation (mQTLs). Three genes whose expression levels were associated with top-sites were previously linked to schizophrenia and general risk tolerance. At six CpGs, DNA methylation variation in blood mirrors variation in the brain. On average 44% (range = 3-82%) of the aggression-methylation association was explained by current and former smoking and BMI. These findings point at loci that are sensitive to chemical exposures with potential implications for neuronal functions. We hope these results to be a starting point for studies leading to applications as peripheral biomarkers and to reveal causal relationships with aggression and related traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-00987-xDOI Listing
January 2021

Investigating the genetic architecture of noncognitive skills using GWAS-by-subtraction.

Nat Genet 2021 01 7;53(1):35-44. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Little is known about the genetic architecture of traits affecting educational attainment other than cognitive ability. We used genomic structural equation modeling and prior genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of educational attainment (n = 1,131,881) and cognitive test performance (n = 257,841) to estimate SNP associations with educational attainment variation that is independent of cognitive ability. We identified 157 genome-wide-significant loci and a polygenic architecture accounting for 57% of genetic variance in educational attainment. Noncognitive genetics were enriched in the same brain tissues and cell types as cognitive performance, but showed different associations with gray-matter brain volumes. Noncognitive genetics were further distinguished by associations with personality traits, less risky behavior and increased risk for certain psychiatric disorders. For socioeconomic success and longevity, noncognitive and cognitive-performance genetics demonstrated associations of similar magnitude. By conducting a GWAS of a phenotype that was not directly measured, we offer a view of genetic architecture of noncognitive skills influencing educational success.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-00754-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7116735PMC
January 2021

Sex-dimorphic genetic effects and novel loci for fasting glucose and insulin variability.

Nat Commun 2021 01 5;12(1):24. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Department of Biostatistics and Data Science, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

Differences between sexes contribute to variation in the levels of fasting glucose and insulin. Epidemiological studies established a higher prevalence of impaired fasting glucose in men and impaired glucose tolerance in women, however, the genetic component underlying this phenomenon is not established. We assess sex-dimorphic (73,089/50,404 women and 67,506/47,806 men) and sex-combined (151,188/105,056 individuals) fasting glucose/fasting insulin genetic effects via genome-wide association study meta-analyses in individuals of European descent without diabetes. Here we report sex dimorphism in allelic effects on fasting insulin at IRS1 and ZNF12 loci, the latter showing higher RNA expression in whole blood in women compared to men. We also observe sex-homogeneous effects on fasting glucose at seven novel loci. Fasting insulin in women shows stronger genetic correlations than in men with waist-to-hip ratio and anorexia nervosa. Furthermore, waist-to-hip ratio is causally related to insulin resistance in women, but not in men. These results position dissection of metabolic and glycemic health sex dimorphism as a steppingstone for understanding differences in genetic effects between women and men in related phenotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19366-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7785747PMC
January 2021

Genetically Informed Regression Analysis: Application to Aggression Prediction by Inattention and Hyperactivity in Children and Adults.

Behav Genet 2021 May 1;51(3):250-263. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Netherlands Twin Register, Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

We present a procedure to simultaneously fit a genetic covariance structure model and a regression model to multivariate data from mono- and dizygotic twin pairs to test for the prediction of a dependent trait by multiple correlated predictors. We applied the model to aggressive behavior as an outcome trait and investigated the prediction of aggression from inattention (InA) and hyperactivity (HA) in two age groups. Predictions were examined in twins with an average age of 10 years (11,345 pairs), and in adult twins with an average age of 30 years (7433 pairs). All phenotypes were assessed by the same, but age-appropriate, instruments in children and adults. Because of the different genetic architecture of aggression, InA and HA, a model was fitted to these data that specified additive and non-additive genetic factors (A and D) plus common and unique environmental (C and E) influences. Given appropriate identifying constraints, this ADCE model is identified in trivariate data. We obtained different results for the prediction of aggression in children, where HA was the more important predictor, and in adults, where InA was the more important predictor. In children, about 36% of the total aggression variance was explained by the genetic and environmental components of HA and InA. Most of this was explained by the genetic components of HA and InA, i.e., 29.7%, with 22.6% due to the genetic component of HA. In adults, about 21% of the aggression variance was explained. Most was this was again explained by the genetic components of InA and HA (16.2%), with 8.6% due to the genetic component of InA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10519-020-10025-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8093158PMC
May 2021

Early-life antibiotic use and risk of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder: results of a discordant twin study.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 May;50(2):475-484

Department of Biological Psychology, Netherlands Twin Register, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Development of the gut-brain axis in early life may be disturbed by antibiotic use. It has been hypothesized that this disturbance may contribute to development of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. We aimed to assess the association between antibiotic use in early life and the risk of developing attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or autism spectrum disorder, while controlling for shared genetic and environmental factors in a discordant twin design.

Methods: We conducted a cohort study in twins (7-12 years; 25 781 twins) from the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) and a replication study in the Childhood and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (CATSS; 7946 9-year-old twins). Antibiotic use was recorded before age 2 years. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder were parent-reported in the Netherlands Twin Register and register-based in the Childhood and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden.

Results: Early-life antibiotic use was associated with increased risk of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder development [pooled odds ratio (OR) 1.10, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02-1.17] and autism spectrum disorder (pooled OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.06-1.25) in a case-control design. When restricting to monozygotic twin pairs discordant for the outcome, associations disappeared for both disorders in both cohorts (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.48-1.69 and OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.37-1.76, and autism spectrum disorder OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.38-1.16 and OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.02-4.50, respectively).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the association between early-life antibiotic use and risk of attention-deficit hyperactivity and autism spectrum disorder may be confounded by shared familial environment and genetics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyaa168DOI Listing
May 2021

Expanding the genetic architecture of nicotine dependence and its shared genetics with multiple traits.

Nat Commun 2020 11 3;11(1):5562. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Department of Genetic Epidemiology in Psychiatry, Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, 68159, Mannheim, Germany.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality. Genetic variation contributes to initiation, regular smoking, nicotine dependence, and cessation. We present a Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND)-based genome-wide association study in 58,000 European or African ancestry smokers. We observe five genome-wide significant loci, including previously unreported loci MAGI2/GNAI1 (rs2714700) and TENM2 (rs1862416), and extend loci reported for other smoking traits to nicotine dependence. Using the heaviness of smoking index from UK Biobank (N = 33,791), rs2714700 is consistently associated; rs1862416 is not associated, likely reflecting nicotine dependence features not captured by the heaviness of smoking index. Both variants influence nearby gene expression (rs2714700/MAGI2-AS3 in hippocampus; rs1862416/TENM2 in lung), and expression of genes spanning nicotine dependence-associated variants is enriched in cerebellum. Nicotine dependence (SNP-based heritability = 8.6%) is genetically correlated with 18 other smoking traits (r = 0.40-1.09) and co-morbidities. Our results highlight nicotine dependence-specific loci, emphasizing the FTND as a composite phenotype that expands genetic knowledge of smoking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19265-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7642344PMC
November 2020

Metabolic Age Based on the BBMRI-NL H-NMR Metabolomics Repository as Biomarker of Age-related Disease.

Circ Genom Precis Med 2020 10 14;13(5):541-547. Epub 2020 Aug 14.

Department of Internal Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center, the Netherlands (C.D.A.S., C.J.H.v.d.K., M.M.J.v.G.).

Background: The blood metabolome incorporates cues from the environment and the host's genetic background, potentially offering a holistic view of an individual's health status.

Methods: We have compiled a vast resource of proton nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics and phenotypic data encompassing over 25 000 samples derived from 26 community and hospital-based cohorts.

Results: Using this resource, we constructed a metabolomics-based age predictor (metaboAge) to calculate an individual's biological age. Exploration in independent cohorts demonstrates that being judged older by one's metabolome, as compared with one's chronological age, confers an increased risk on future cardiovascular disease, mortality, and functionality in older individuals. A web-based tool for calculating metaboAge (metaboage.researchlumc.nl) allows easy incorporation in other epidemiological studies. Access to data can be requested at bbmri.nl/samples-images-data.

Conclusions: In summary, we present a vast resource of metabolomics data and illustrate its merit by constructing a metabolomics-based score for biological age that captures aspects of current and future cardiometabolic health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGEN.119.002610DOI Listing
October 2020

Longitudinal retinal layer changes in preclinical Alzheimer's disease.

Acta Ophthalmol 2020 Oct 18. Epub 2020 Oct 18.

Ophthalmology Dept., Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Purpose: Several studies found reduced retinal thickness on optical coherence tomography (OCT) in Alzheimer's disease (AD), even in preclinical stages, labelling this technique of interest as biomarker. In this study, we examine retinal thickness changes in preclinical AD, as defined by cognitively normal individuals with amyloid-beta (Aβ) on positron emission tomography (PET).

Methods: For this monocentre study, 145 cognitively healthy monozygotic twins aged ≥ 60 were included from the Netherlands Twin Register taking part in the EMIF-AD PreclinAD study. At baseline, participants underwent [ F] flutemetamol PET that was visually rated for cortical Aβ. Binding potential was calculated as continuous measure for Aβ. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) was performed at baseline and after 22 months to assess changes in total and individual inner retinal layer thickness in the macular region (ETDRS circles) and peripapillary retinal nerve fibre layer thickness. Differences in rate of change between amyloid-beta positive and negative individuals and associations between binding potential and change in retinal thickness were evaluated.

Results: Sixteen participants (11%) were positive for Aβ. Change in retinal thickness did not differ in any region between Aβ+ and Aβ- individuals. A positive association between binding potential and change in inner plexiform layer thickness was observed in the inner macular ring (beta = 1.708, CI = 0.575 to 2.841, p = 0.003).

Conclusion: Aβ+ individuals did not differ in rate of change of any retinal layer compared to controls, but higher binding potential at baseline was associated with less IPL thinning over time. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) as a longitudinal screening tool for preclinical AD seems limited, but IPL changes offer leads for further research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/aos.14640DOI Listing
October 2020

The Speed of Development of Adolescent Brain Age Depends on Sex and Is Genetically Determined.

Cereb Cortex 2021 Jan;31(2):1296-1306

Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht Brain Center, Utrecht University, 3584 CX Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Children and adolescents show high variability in brain development. Brain age-the estimated biological age of an individual brain-can be used to index developmental stage. In a longitudinal sample of adolescents (age 9-23 years), including monozygotic and dizygotic twins and their siblings, structural magnetic resonance imaging scans (N = 673) at 3 time points were acquired. Using brain morphology data of different types and at different spatial scales, brain age predictors were trained and validated. Differences in brain age between males and females were assessed and the heritability of individual variation in brain age gaps was calculated. On average, females were ahead of males by at most 1 year, but similar aging patterns were found for both sexes. The difference between brain age and chronological age was heritable, as was the change in brain age gap over time. In conclusion, females and males show similar developmental ("aging") patterns but, on average, females pass through this development earlier. Reliable brain age predictors may be used to detect (extreme) deviations in developmental state of the brain early, possibly indicating aberrant development as a sign of risk of neurodevelopmental disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhaa296DOI Listing
January 2021