Genetics in schizophrenia: where are we and what next?
ABSTRACT: Understanding the genetic basis of schizophrenia continues to be major challenge. The research done during the last two decades has provided several candidate genes which unfortunately have not been consistently replicated across or within a population. The recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and copy number variation (CNV) studies have provided important evidence suggesting a role of both common and rare large CNVs in schizophrenia genesis. The burden of rare copy number variations appears to be increased in schizophrenia patients. A consistent observation among the GWAS studies is the association with schizophrenia of genetic markers in the major histocompatibility complex (6p22.1)-containing genes including NOTCH4 and histone protein loci. Molecular genetic studies are also demonstrating that there is more overlap between the susceptibility genes for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder than previously suspected. In this review we summarize the major findings of the past decade and suggest areas of future research.
Project description:Schizophrenia, a devastating psychiatric disorder, has a prevalence of 0.5-1%, with high heritability (80-85%) and complex transmission. Recent studies implicate rare, large, high-penetrance copy number variants in some cases, but the genes or biological mechanisms that underlie susceptibility are not known. Here we show that schizophrenia is significantly associated with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the extended major histocompatibility complex region on chromosome 6. We carried out a genome-wide association study of common SNPs in the Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia (MGS) case-control sample, and then a meta-analysis of data from the MGS, International Schizophrenia Consortium and SGENE data sets. No MGS finding achieved genome-wide statistical significance. In the meta-analysis of European-ancestry subjects (8,008 cases, 19,077 controls), significant association with schizophrenia was observed in a region of linkage disequilibrium on chromosome 6p22.1 (P = 9.54 x 10(-9)). This region includes a histone gene cluster and several immunity-related genes--possibly implicating aetiological mechanisms involving chromatin modification, transcriptional regulation, autoimmunity and/or infection. These results demonstrate that common schizophrenia susceptibility alleles can be detected. The characterization of these signals will suggest important directions for research on susceptibility mechanisms.
Project description:Schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder. Genome-wide association studies based largely on common alleles have identified over 100 schizophrenia risk loci, but it is also evident from studies of copy number variants (CNVs) and from exome-sequencing studies that rare alleles are also involved. Full characterization of the contribution of rare alleles to the disorder awaits the deployment of sequencing technology in very large sample sizes, meanwhile, as an interim measure, exome arrays allow rare non-synonymous variants to be sampled at a fraction of the cost. In an analysis of exome array data from 13 688 individuals (5585 cases and 8103 controls) from the UK, we found that rare (minor allele frequency < 0.1%) variant association signal was enriched among genes that map to autosomal loci that are genome-wide significant (GWS) in common variant studies of schizophrenia genome-wide association study (PGWAS = 0.01) as well as gene sets known to be enriched for rare variants in sequencing studies (PRARE = 0.026). We also identified the gene-wise equivalent of GWS support for WDR88 (WD repeat-containing protein 88), a gene of unknown function (P = 6.5 × 10(-7)). Rare alleles represented on exome chip arrays contribute to the genetic architecture of schizophrenia, but as is the case for GWAS, very large studies are required to reveal additional susceptibility alleles for the disorder.
Project description:Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of adolescents and adults are transforming our understanding of how genetic variants impact brain structure and psychiatric risk, but cannot address the reality that psychiatric disorders are unfolding developmental processes with origins in fetal life. To investigate how genetic variation impacts prenatal brain development, we conducted a GWAS of global brain tissue volumes in 561 infants. An intronic single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in IGFBP7 (rs114518130) achieved genome-wide significance for gray matter volume (P=4.15 × 10-10). An intronic SNP in WWOX (rs10514437) neared genome-wide significance for white matter volume (P=1.56 × 10-8). Additional loci with small P-values included psychiatric GWAS associations and transcription factors expressed in developing brain. Genetic predisposition scores for schizophrenia and ASD, and the number of genes impacted by rare copy number variants (CNV burden) did not predict global brain tissue volumes. Integration of these results with large-scale neuroimaging GWAS in adolescents (PNC) and adults (ENIGMA2) suggests minimal overlap between common variants impacting brain volumes at different ages. Ultimately, by identifying genes contributing to adverse developmental phenotypes, it may be possible to adjust adverse trajectories, preventing or ameliorating psychiatric and developmental disorders.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:The authors used a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of multiply affected families to investigate the association of schizophrenia to common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and rare copy number variants (CNVs). METHOD:The family sample included 2,461 individuals from 631 pedigrees (581 in the primary European-ancestry analyses). Association was tested for single SNPs and genetic pathways. Polygenic scores based on family study results were used to predict case-control status in the Schizophrenia Psychiatric GWAS Consortium (PGC) data set, and consistency of direction of effect with the family study was determined for top SNPs in the PGC GWAS analysis. Within-family segregation was examined for schizophrenia-associated rare CNVs. RESULTS:No genome-wide significant associations were observed for single SNPs or for pathways. PGC case and control subjects had significantly different genome-wide polygenic scores (computed by weighting their genotypes by log-odds ratios from the family study) (best p=10(-17), explaining 0.4% of the variance). Family study and PGC analyses had consistent directions for 37 of the 58 independent best PGC SNPs (p=0.024). The overall frequency of CNVs in regions with reported associations with schizophrenia (chromosomes 1q21.1, 15q13.3, 16p11.2, and 22q11.2 and the neurexin-1 gene [NRXN1]) was similar to previous case-control studies. NRXN1 deletions and 16p11.2 duplications (both of which were transmitted from parents) and 22q11.2 deletions (de novo in four cases) did not segregate with schizophrenia in families. CONCLUSIONS:Many common SNPs are likely to contribute to schizophrenia risk, with substantial overlap in genetic risk factors between multiply affected families and cases in large case-control studies. Our findings are consistent with a role for specific CNVs in disease pathogenesis, but the partial segregation of some CNVs with schizophrenia suggests that researchers should exercise caution in using them for predictive genetic testing until their effects in diverse populations have been fully studied.
Project description:Schizophrenia (SZ) is a common and severe psychiatric disorder with both environmental and genetic risk factors, and a high heritability. After over 20 years of molecular genetics research, new molecular strategies, primarily genome-wide association studies (GWAS), have generated major tangible progress. This new data provides evidence for: (1) a number of chromosomal regions with common polymorphisms showing genome-wide association with SZ (the major histocompatibility complex, MHC, region at 6p22-p21; 18q21.2; and 2q32.1). The associated alleles present small odds ratios (the odds of a risk variant being present in cases vs. controls) and suggest causative involvement of gene regulatory mechanisms in SZ. (2) Polygenic inheritance. (3) Involvement of rare (<1%) and large (>100kb) copy number variants (CNVs). (4) A genetic overlap of SZ with autism and with bipolar disorder (BP) challenging the classical clinical classifications. Most new SZ findings (chromosomal regions and genes) have generated new biological leads. These new findings, however, still need to be translated into a better understanding of the underlying biology and into causal mechanisms. Furthermore, a considerable amount of heritability still remains unexplained (missing heritability). Deep resequencing for rare variants and system biology approaches (e.g., integrating DNA sequence and functional data) are expected to further improve our understanding of the genetic architecture of SZ and its underlying biology.
Project description:Schizophrenia is a common mental illness with a large genetic component. Three genome-wide association studies have implicated the major histocompatibility complex gene region on chromosome 6p21.3-22.1 in schizophrenia. In addition, nicotine, which is commonly abused in schizophrenia, affects the expression of central nervous system immune genes. Messenger RNA levels for genes in the 6p21.3-22.1 region were measured in human postmortem hippocampus of 89 subjects. The effects of schizophrenia diagnosis, smoking and systemic inflammatory illness were compared. Cell-specific expression patterns for the class I major histocompatibility complex gene HLA-A were explored utilizing in situ hybridization. Expression of five genes was altered in schizophrenic subjects. Messenger RNA levels for the class I major histocompatibility complex antigen HLA-B were increased in schizophrenic nonsmokers, while levels for smokers were indistinguishable from those of controls. ?2 microglobulin, HLA-A and Notch4 were all expressed in a pattern where inflammatory illness was associated with increased expression in controls but not in subjects with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia was also associated with increased expression of Butyrophilin 2A2. HLA-A was expressed in glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons in the dentate gyrus, hilus, and the stratum pyramidale of the CA1-CA4 regions of the hippocampus, but not in astrocytes. In conclusion, the expression of genes from the major histocompatibility complex region of chromosome 6 with likely roles in synaptic development is altered in schizophrenia. There were also significant interactions between schizophrenia diagnosis and both inflammatory illness and smoking.
Project description:Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric illness that affects ~1% of the population and has a strong genetic underpinning. Recently, genome wide analysis of copy number variation (CNV) has implicated rare and de novo events as important in schizophrenia. Here we report a genome-wide analysis of 245 schizophrenia cases and 490 controls, all of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. Since many studies have found an excess burden of large, rare deletions in cases, we limited our analysis to deletions over 500 kb in size. We observed seven large, rare deletions in cases with 57% of these being de novo. We focused on one 836 kb de novo deletion at chromosome 3q29 that falls within a 1.3–1.6 Mb deletion previously identified in children with intellectual disability (ID) and autism, as increasing evidence suggests an overlap of specific rare CNVs between autism and schizophrenia. By combining our data with prior CNV studies of schizophrenia and analysis of the data of the Genetic Association Information Network (GAIN), we identified six 3q29 deletions among 7,545 schizophrenic subjects and one among 39,748 controls, resulting in a statistically significant association with schizophrenia (p = 0.02) and an odds ratio estimate of 17 (95% CI: 1.36–1198.4). Moreover, this 3q29 deletion region contains two linkage peaks from prior schizophrenia family studies, and the minimal deletion interval implicates 20 annotated genes, including PAK2 and DLG1, both paralogous to X-linked ID genes and now strong candidates for schizophrenia susceptibility. Copy Number alanysis was performed on 245 cases and 490 controls of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. Samples were analyzed for deletions greater than 500 kb, with 20 or more snps in the interval. Three algorithms were used for analysis, GADA, GLAD and BEAST. The reference was created by using all samples processed here as the reference.
Project description:Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric illness that affects ~1% of the population and has a strong genetic underpinning. Recently, genome wide analysis of copy number variation (CNV) has implicated rare and de novo events as important in schizophrenia. Here we report a genome-wide analysis of 245 schizophrenia cases and 490 controls, all of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. Since many studies have found an excess burden of large, rare deletions in cases, we limited our analysis to deletions over 500 kb in size. We observed seven large, rare deletions in cases with 57% of these being de novo. We focused on one 836 kb de novo deletion at chromosome 3q29 that falls within a 1.3–1.6 Mb deletion previously identified in children with intellectual disability (ID) and autism, as increasing evidence suggests an overlap of specific rare CNVs between autism and schizophrenia. By combining our data with prior CNV studies of schizophrenia and analysis of the data of the Genetic Association Information Network (GAIN), we identified six 3q29 deletions among 7,545 schizophrenic subjects and one among 39,748 controls, resulting in a statistically significant association with schizophrenia (p = 0.02) and an odds ratio estimate of 17 (95% CI: 1.36–1198.4). Moreover, this 3q29 deletion region contains two linkage peaks from prior schizophrenia family studies, and the minimal deletion interval implicates 20 annotated genes, including PAK2 and DLG1, both paralogous to X-linked ID genes and now strong candidates for schizophrenia susceptibility. Overall design: Copy Number alanysis was performed on 245 cases and 490 controls of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. Samples were analyzed for deletions greater than 500 kb, with 20 or more snps in the interval. Three algorithms were used for analysis, GADA, GLAD and BEAST. The reference was created by using all samples processed here as the reference.
Project description:Nearly 95% of susceptibility SNPs identified by genome-wide association studies (GWASs) are located in non-coding regions, which causes a lot of difficulty in deciphering their biological functions on disease pathogenesis. Here, we aimed to conduct a comprehensive functional annotation for all the schizophrenia susceptibility loci obtained from GWASs. Considering varieties of epigenomic regulatory elements, we annotated all 22,688 acquired susceptibility SNPs according to their genomic positions to obtain functional SNPs. The comprehensive annotation indicated that these functional SNPs are broadly involved in diverse biological processes. Histone modification enrichment showed that H3K27ac, H3K36me3, H3K4me1, and H3K4me3 were related to the development of schizophrenia. Transcription factors (TFs) prediction, methylation quantitative trait loci (meQTL) analyses, expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) analyses, and proteomic quantitative trait loci analyses (pQTL) identified 447 target protein-coding genes. Subsequently, differential expression analyses between schizophrenia cases and controls, nervous system phenotypes from mouse models, and protein-protein interaction with known schizophrenia-related pathways and genes were carried out with our target genes. We finaly prioritized 10 target genes for schizophrenia (CACNA1C, CLU, CSNK2B, GABBR1, GRIN2A, MAPK3, NOTCH4, SRR, TNF, and SYNGAP1). Our results may serve as an encyclopedia of schizophrenia susceptibility SNPs and offer holistic guides for post-GWAS functional experiments.
Project description:Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disease with complex etiology, affecting approximately one percent of the general population. Most genetic studies so far focused on disease association with common genetic variation such as single nucleotide polymorphisms, but recently it has become apparent that large-scale genomic copy number variants (CNVs) are involved in disease development as well. To assess the role of rare CNVs in schizophrenia, we screened 54 patients with deficit schizophrenia using Affymetrix’ GeneChip 250K SNP arrays. Keywords: genomic hybridisation We hybridized genomic DNA of 54 patients with deficit schizophrenia to Affymetrix' GeneChip 250K SNP (Nsp) arrays, and identified genome-wide CNV using the Copy Number Analyzer for Affymetrix GeneChip (CNAG v2.0) software, which uses a Hidden Markov Model (HMM) algorithm to calculate copy numbers.