The Genetics of Stress-Related Disorders: PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety Disorders.
ABSTRACT: Research into the causes of psychopathology has largely focused on two broad etiologic factors: genetic vulnerability and environmental stressors. An important role for familial/heritable factors in the etiology of a broad range of psychiatric disorders was established well before the modern era of genomic research. This review focuses on the genetic basis of three disorder categories-posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and the anxiety disorders-for which environmental stressors and stress responses are understood to be central to pathogenesis. Each of these disorders aggregates in families and is moderately heritable. More recently, molecular genetic approaches, including genome-wide studies of genetic variation, have been applied to identify specific risk variants. In this review, I summarize evidence for genetic contributions to PTSD, MDD, and the anxiety disorders including genetic epidemiology, the role of common genetic variation, the role of rare and structural variation, and the role of gene-environment interaction. Available data suggest that stress-related disorders are highly complex and polygenic and, despite substantial progress in other areas of psychiatric genetics, few risk loci have been identified for these disorders. Progress in this area will likely require analysis of much larger sample sizes than have been reported to date. The phenotypic complexity and genetic overlap among these disorders present further challenges. The review concludes with a discussion of prospects for clinical translation of genetic findings and future directions for research.
Project description:Importance:Psychiatric traits associated with categorically defined psychiatric disorders are heritable and present to varying degrees in the general population. It is commonly assumed that diagnoses represent the extreme end of continuously distributed traits in the population, but this assumption has yet to be robustly tested for many psychiatric phenotypes. Objective:To assess whether genetic risk factors associated with psychiatric disorders are also associated with continuous variation in milder population traits. Design, Setting, and Participants:This study combined a novel twin analytic approach with polygenic risk score (PRS) analyses in a large population-based twin sample. Phenotypic and genetic data were available from the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden. Inpatient data were available for January 1, 1987, to December 31, 2014, and outpatient data for January 1, 2001, to December 31, 2013. The last day of follow-up was December 31, 2014. Data analysis was performed from January 1, 2017, to September 30, 2017. Main Outcomes and Measures:Questionnaires that assessed traits of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning difficulties, tic disorders (TDs), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, major depressive disorder (MDD), mania, and psychotic experiences were administered to a large Swedish twin sample. Individuals with clinical psychiatric diagnoses were identified using the Swedish National Patient Register. Joint categorical/continuous twin modeling was used to estimate genetic correlations between psychiatric diagnoses and continuous traits. The PRSs for psychiatric disorders were calculated based on independent discovery genetic data. The association between PRSs for each disorder and associated continuous traits was tested. Results:Phenotype data were available for 13 923 twin pairs (35.1% opposite sex and 31.7% same-sex females) at 9 years of age, 5165 pairs (36.9% opposite sex and 34.0% same-sex females) at 15 years of age, and 4273 pairs (36.5% opposite sex and 34.4% same-sex females) at 18 years of age. Genetic data were available for 13 412 individuals (50.2% females). Twin genetic correlations between numerous psychiatric diagnoses and corresponding traits ranged from 0.31 to 0.69. Disorder PRSs were associated with related population traits for ASD (β [SE] = 0.04 [0.01] at 9 years of age), ADHD (β [SE] = 0.27 [0.03] at 9 years of age), TDs (β [SE] = 0.02 [0.004] at 9 years of age), OCD (β [SE] = 0.13 [0.05] at 18 years of age), anxiety (β [SE] = 0.18 [0.08] at 9 years of age; β [SE] = 0.07 [0.02] at 15 years of age; and β [SE] = 0.40 [0.17] at 18 years of age), MDD (β [SE] = 0.10 [0.03] at 9 years of age; β [SE] = 0.11 [0.02] at 15 years of age; and β [SE] = 0.41 [0.10] at 18 years of age), and schizophrenia (β [SE] = 0.02 [0.01] at 18 years of age). Polygenic risk scores for depressive symptoms were associated with MDD diagnoses (odds ratio, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.02-1.32). Conclusions and Relevance:These results suggest that genetic factors associated with psychiatric disorders are also associated with milder variation in characteristic traits throughout the general population for many psychiatric phenotypes. This study suggests that many psychiatric disorders are likely to be continuous phenotypes rather than the categorical entities currently defined in diagnostic manuals, which has strong implications for genetic research in particular.
Project description:Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been associated with psychiatric pathology. Psychiatric comorbidity in OSA may affect patient quality of life and adherence to CPAP. A focused evaluation of OSA in highly selected groups of primarily psychiatric patients may provide further insights into the factors contributing to comorbidity of OSA and psychopathology. The goal of this study is to examine the prevalence and treatment of OSA in psychiatric populations.A systematic review following the PRISMA guidelines was conducted to determine the prevalence of OSA in schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders, and to examine potential interventions. The PubMed, EMBASE, and PsycINFO databases were searched (last search April 26, 2014) using keywords based on the ICD-9-CM coding for OSA and the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic groups.The search retrieved 47 records concerning studies of OSA in the selected disorders. The prevalence studies indicate that there may be an increased prevalence of OSA in individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), despite considerable heterogeneity and a high risk of bias. There was insufficient evidence to support increased OSA in schizophrenia and psychotic disorders, bipolar and related disorders, and anxiety disorders other than PTSD. Studies of treatment of OSA indicate an improvement in both OSA and psychiatric symptoms. CPAP adherence was reduced in veterans with PTSD.OSA prevalence may be increased in MDD and PTSD. In individuals with OSA and psychiatric illness, treatment of both disorders should be considered for optimal treatment outcomes.
Project description:Major depressive disorder (MDD), schizophrenia (SCZ) and bipolar disorder (BP) are common, disabling and heritable psychiatric diseases with a complex overlapping polygenic architecture. Individuals with these disorders, as well as their unaffected relatives, show widespread structural differences in corticostriatal and limbic networks. Structural variation in many of these brain regions is also heritable and polygenic but whether their genetic architecture overlaps with that of major psychiatric disorders is unknown. We sought to address this issue by examining the impact of polygenic risk of MDD, SCZ, and BP on subcortical brain volumes and white matter (WM) microstructure in a large single sample of neuroimaging data; the UK Biobank Imaging study. The first release of UK Biobank imaging data comprised participants with overlapping genetic data and subcortical volumes (N?=?978) and WM measures (N?=?816). The calculation of polygenic risk scores was based on genome-wide association study results generated by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. Our findings indicated no statistically significant associations between either subcortical volumes or WM microstructure, and polygenic risk for MDD, SCZ or BP. These findings suggest that subcortical brain volumes and WM microstructure may not be closely linked to the genetic mechanisms of major psychiatric disorders.
Project description:Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an acquired psychiatric disorder with functionally impairing physiological and psychological symptoms following a traumatic exposure. Genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors act together to determine both an individual's susceptibility to PTSD and its clinical phenotype. In this literature review, we briefly review the candidate genes that have been implicated in the development and severity of the PTSD phenotype. We discuss the importance of the epigenetic regulation of these candidate genes. We review the general epigenetic mechanisms that are currently understood, with examples of each in the PTSD phenotype. Our focus then turns to studies that have examined PTSD in the context of comorbid psychiatric disorders or associated social and behavioral stressors. We examine the epigenetic variation in cases or models of PTSD with comorbid depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, and substance use disorders. We reviewed the literature that has explored epigenetic regulation in PTSD in adverse childhood experiences and suicide phenotypes. Finally, we review some of the information available from studies of the transgenerational transmission of epigenetic variation in maternal cases of PTSD. We discuss areas pertinent for future study to further elucidate the complex interactions between epigenetic modifications and this complex psychiatric disorder.
Project description:Inflammation is a natural defence response of the immune system against environmental insult, stress and injury, but hyper- and hypo-inflammatory responses can trigger diseases. Accumulating evidence suggests that inflammation is involved in multiple psychiatric disorders. Using inflammation-related factors as biomarkers of psychiatric disorders requires the proof of reproducibility and specificity of the changes in different disorders, which remains to be established. We performed a cross-disorder study by systematically evaluating the meta-analysis results of inflammation-related factors in eight major psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia (SCZ), bipolar disorder (BD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), major depression disorder (MDD), post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD), sleeping disorder (SD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and suicide. A total of 43 meta-analyses involving 704 publications on 44 inflammation-related factors were included in the study. We calculated the effect size and statistical power for every inflammation-related factor in each disorder. Our analyses showed that well-powered case-control studies provided more consistent results than underpowered studies when one factor was meta-analysed by different researchers. After removing underpowered studies, 30 of the 44 inflammation-related factors showed significant alterations in at least one disorder based on well-powered meta-analyses. Eleven of them changed in patients of more than two disorders when compared with the controls. A few inflammation-related factors showed unique changes in specific disorders (e.g., IL-4 increased in BD, decreased in suicide, but had no change in MDD, ASD, PTSD and SCZ). MDD had the largest number of changes while SD has the least. Clustering analysis showed that closely related disorders share similar patterns of inflammatory changes, as genome-wide genetic studies have found. According to the effect size obtained from the meta-analyses, 13 inflammation-related factors would need <50 cases and 50 controls to achieve 80% power to show significant differences (p < 0.0016) between patients and controls. Changes in different states of MDD, SCZ or BD were also observed in various comparisons. Studies comparing first-episode SCZ to controls may have more reproducible findings than those comparing pre- and post-treatment results. Longitudinal, system-wide studies of inflammation regulation that can differentiate trait- and state-specific changes will be needed to establish valuable biomarkers.
Project description:Background/AimsThe Kaiser Permanente/UCSF Genetic Epidemiology Research Study on Adult Health and Aging (GERA) cohort includes 110,266 individuals with comprehensive longitudinal medical records along with genome-wide genotype data. As such, it provides an unprecedented opportunity to conduct a number of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of psychiatric disorders. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and panic disorder (PD) are prevalent, persistent, disabling and heritable anxiety disorders. Numerous candidate gene studies have been published with inconsistent findings. We conducted the GWAS of PTSD and the GWAS of panic disorder among non-Hispanic white GERA cohorts to detect the underlying heterogeneous genetic architecture.MethodsWe identified a total of 6177 combined ASD and PTSD cases in the GERA cohort, in which cases had two or more psychiatric diagnoses of ASD and/or PTSD; the GERA cohort supplied 63,613 controls. A total of 1483 subjects with two or more diagnoses of panic disorder and 75,379 controls were included in the GWAS of panic disorder. All the cases and controls were genotyped on the custom Affymetrix Axiom EUR arrays with 674,518 SNPs.ResultsIn the GWAS of combined ASD and PTSD or the GWAS of PD, a suggestive association with ASD/PTSD was found with a SNP in an intergenic region on chromosome 10 near the ANKRD20A gene (OR = 1.11, = 1.42×10−7), as well as neighboring SNPs. In the GWAS of PD, we replicated a SNP association (rs1873727) in intron 3 of TMEM132D which was reported in a recent GWAS of PD.ConclusionsOur analysis did not yield conclusive associations with PTSD or PD. We replicated a candidate gene in TMEM132D in the PD analysis. This suggests that we can observe true association signals for these disorders, but additional cases are needed to detect modest effects. GWAS of psychiatric disorders remain challenging.
Project description:Most psychiatric disorders are moderately to highly heritable. The degree to which genetic variation is unique to individual disorders or shared across disorders is unclear. To examine shared genetic etiology, we use genome-wide genotype data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) for cases and controls in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We apply univariate and bivariate methods for the estimation of genetic variation within and covariation between disorders. SNPs explained 17-29% of the variance in liability. The genetic correlation calculated using common SNPs was high between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (0.68 ± 0.04 s.e.), moderate between schizophrenia and major depressive disorder (0.43 ± 0.06 s.e.), bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder (0.47 ± 0.06 s.e.), and ADHD and major depressive disorder (0.32 ± 0.07 s.e.), low between schizophrenia and ASD (0.16 ± 0.06 s.e.) and non-significant for other pairs of disorders as well as between psychiatric disorders and the negative control of Crohn's disease. This empirical evidence of shared genetic etiology for psychiatric disorders can inform nosology and encourages the investigation of common pathophysiologies for related disorders.
Project description:Despite evidence of substantial comorbidity between psychiatric disorders and substance involvement, the extent to which common genetic factors contribute to their co-occurrence remains understudied. In the current study, we tested for associations between polygenic risk for psychiatric disorders and substance involvement (i.e., ranging from ever-use to severe dependence) among 2573 non-Hispanic European-American participants from the Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) for cross-disorder psychopathology (CROSS) were generated based on the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium's Cross-Disorder meta-analysis and then tested for associations with a factor representing general liability to alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, nicotine, and opioid involvement (GENSUB). Follow-up analyses evaluated specific associations between each of the five psychiatric disorders which comprised CROSS-attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (AUT), bipolar disorder (BIP), major depressive disorder (MDD), and schizophrenia (SCZ)-and involvement with each component substance included in GENSUB. CROSS PRS explained 1.10% of variance in GENSUB in our sample (p < 0.001). After correction for multiple testing in our follow-up analyses of polygenic risk for each individual disorder predicting involvement with each component substance, associations remained between: (A) MDD PRS and non-problem cannabis use, (B) MDD PRS and severe cocaine dependence, (C) SCZ PRS and non-problem cannabis use and severe cannabis dependence, and (D) SCZ PRS and severe cocaine dependence. These results suggest that shared covariance from common genetic variation contributes to psychiatric and substance involvement comorbidity.
Project description:Major psychiatric disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism (AUT), bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and schizophrenia (SZ), are highly heritable and polygenic. Evidence suggests that these five disorders have both shared and distinct genetic risks and neural connectivity abnormalities. To measure aggregate genetic risks, the polygenic risk score (PGRS) was computed. Two independent general populations (N = 360 and N = 323) were separately examined to investigate whether the cross-disorder PGRS and PGRS for a specific disorder were associated with individual variability in functional connectivity. Consistent altered functional connectivity was found with the bilateral insula: for the left supplementary motor area and the left superior temporal gyrus with the cross-disorder PGRS, for the left insula and right middle and superior temporal lobe associated with the PGRS for autism, for the bilateral midbrain, posterior cingulate, cuneus, and precuneus associated with the PGRS for BD, and for the left angular gyrus and the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex associated with the PGRS for schizophrenia. No significant functional connectivity was found associated with the PGRS for ADHD and MDD. Our findings indicated that genetic effects on the cross-disorder and disorder-specific neural connectivity of common genetic risk loci are detectable in the general population. Our findings also indicated that polygenic risk contributes to the main neurobiological phenotypes of psychiatric disorders and that identifying cross-disorder and specific functional connectivity related to polygenic risks may elucidate the neural pathways for these disorders.