In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (161)

Articles by Thomas Schulze in JoVE

Other articles by Thomas Schulze on PubMed

The European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees (EFPT)--an Integral Part of the European Harmonisation of Psychiatric Education and Practise

European Psychiatry : the Journal of the Association of European Psychiatrists. Sep, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12510630

The European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees (EFPT) is the umbrella organisation for national European psychiatric trainees' organisations. It primarily aims at advancing and harmonising the quality of psychiatric education and practise. As a permanent observer member of the European Board of Psychiatry and the European Board of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the EEPT actively participates both in the development of educational guidelines and in the evaluation of psychiatric training institutions in Europe. Through its annually held European Forum for all Psychiatric Trainees the EEPT provides a unique opportunity for the exchange of training-related experiences and opinions on current developments in psychiatry. This is the first comprehensive overview of the history, goals, and political work of the EEPT, depicting its evolution from an informal meeting of psychiatric trainees to a recognised organisation representing over 10,000 young psychiatrists throughout Europe.

Association Study Between Two Variants in the DOPA Decarboxylase Gene in Bipolar and Unipolar Affective Disorder

American Journal of Medical Genetics. Jul, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12116187

Irregularities of dopaminergic and serotonergic neurotransmission have been implicated in a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders. DOPA decarboxylase (DDC), also known as aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase, is an enzyme involved directly in the synthesis of dopamine and serotonin and indirectly in the synthesis of noradrenaline. Therefore, the DDC gene can be considered as a candidate gene for affective disorders. Recently, two novel variants were reported in the DDC gene: a 1-bp deletion in the promoter and a 4-bp deletion in the untranslated exon 1. Subsequently, an association case-control study including 112 English patients and 80 Danish patients with bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) revealed a significant association with the 1-bp deletion. This finding prompted us to analyze whether this effect was also present in a larger and ethnically homogeneous sample of 228 unrelated German patients with BPAD (208 patients with BP I disorder, 20 patients with BP II disorder), 183 unrelated patients with unipolar affective disorder (UPAD), and 234 healthy control subjects. For both BPAD and UPAD we could not detect a genetic association with either variant. Thus, our results do not support an involvement of the 1-bp or 4-bp deletion within the DDC gene in the etiology of affective disorders.

Further Evidence for Age of Onset Being an Indicator for Severity in Bipolar Disorder

Journal of Affective Disorders. Apr, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12063163

Can Long-range Microsatellite Data Be Used to Predict Short-range Linkage Disequilibrium?

Human Molecular Genetics. Jun, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12023978

The distribution of linkage disequilibrium (LD) across the genome is highly complex. Little is known about the relationship between long-range and short-range LD in a genomic region. We assessed whether a dense set of microsatellite data could be used to predict short-range LD in family samples. We analyzed intermarker LD in data derived from chromosomal regions 18q22 and 10q25-26, densely genotyped with microsatellite markers. The pattern of LD was highly heterogeneous within and between both chromosomal regions. On 10q25-26, very little LD was detected. On 18q22, where marker density was higher, many marker pairs were in LD. We modeled the decay of LD over distance in this region. A classical model accounted for most of the relationship between LD and distance (R (2)=63%). We used this model to predict the proportion of markers expected to show useful levels of LD at short distances. This prediction agreed with estimates based on single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker genotypes in the region. Both microsatellite and SNP data predict that about 80% of marker pairs would display levels of LD that are useful for association studies at distances of up to 15 kb in this region. These projections also agree with levels of LD directly measured in a 10 kb set of SNP genotypes generated in a nearby region of finished sequence. Our results suggest that existing sets of microsatellite data, if sufficiently dense, may be used to develop good initial estimates of the density of additional markers needed to screen a region for disease alleles by association analysis.

Association Between a Polymorphism in the Pseudoautosomal X-linked Gene SYBL1 and Bipolar Affective Disorder

American Journal of Medical Genetics. Jan, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 11840509

In the past decade, several chromosomal regions have been analyzed for linkage with bipolar affective disorder (BPAD). There have been conflicting results regarding the involvement of X-chromosomal regions in harboring susceptibility genes for BPAD. Recently, a new candidate gene (SYBL1) for BPAD has been described on Xq28. SYBL1, which maps to the Xq pseudoautosomal region (PAR), encodes a member of the synaptobrevin family of proteins involved in synaptic vesicle docking, exocytosis, and membrane transport. A subsequent case-control association study, including 110 US-American patients with BPAD and 119 unrelated controls, investigated a potential etiological role of a novel polymorphism (G-->C transversion) in a regulatory region of the SYBL1 gene. In this analysis, the C allele showed a statistical trend to be more frequent in males with BPAD than in respective controls (P=0.06). This finding prompted us to verify whether a similar effect was also present in a larger German sample of 164 unrelated patients with BPAD (148 patients with BP I disorder, 16 patients with BP II disorder) and 267 controls. We observed a significantly increased frequency of genotypes homozygous for the C allele in females with BPAD in comparison with controls (P=0.017). Thus, our data strengthen the role of the SYBL1 gene as a candidate gene for BPAD.

Genetic Association Mapping at the Crossroads: Which Test and Why? Overview and Practical Guidelines

American Journal of Medical Genetics. Jan, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 11840498

Until about a decade ago, genetic association testing essentially meant case control association analysis using genetic markers. Concerns about population stratification propelled family-based tests of association into widespread use and challenged the classic case control design. The literature now contains a vast collection of different family-based methods, most of which are based on the transmission/disequilibrium test (TDT). Some methods extend the original TDT to accommodate multiallelic markers, variable pedigree constellations, multiple loci, etc. Other methods go beyond the original design of the TDT to detect genetic association via haplotype sharing. Most recently, we have witnessed a revival of case control methods that control for population stratification. The purpose of this review is to help orient readers to the rapidly developing methods of association testing and enhance their understanding of the basic principles of these approaches. We present an overview of the development of genetic association tests, with practical guidelines on which test might be the most suitable for a given study.

Association of Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha Gene -G308A Polymorphism with Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Research. Dec, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14623370

Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha), a cytokine involved in inflammatory processes, has been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. The chromosomal location in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region on 6p21.1-21.3, a region with evidence for linkage, suggests a role in susceptibility to schizophrenia. Association of the minor (A) allele of the -G308A TNFalpha gene polymorphism with schizophrenia has been reported [Mol. Psychiatry 6 (2001) 79].

The DTNBP1 (dysbindin) Gene Contributes to Schizophrenia, Depending on Family History of the Disease

American Journal of Human Genetics. Dec, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14618545

We have investigated the gene for dystrobrevin-binding protein 1 (DTNBP1), or dysbindin, which has been strongly suggested as a positional candidate gene for schizophrenia, in three samples of subjects with schizophrenia and unaffected control subjects of German (418 cases, 285 controls), Polish (294 cases, 113 controls), and Swedish (142 cases, 272 controls) descent. We analyzed five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (P1635, P1325, P1320, P1757, and P1578) and identified significant evidence of association in the Swedish sample but not in those from Germany or Poland. The results in the Swedish sample became even more significant after a separate analysis of those cases with a positive family history of schizophrenia, in whom the five-marker haplotype A-C-A-T-T showed a P value of.00009 (3.1% in controls, 17.8% in cases; OR 6.75; P=.00153 after Bonferroni correction). Our results suggest that genetic variation in the dysbindin gene is particularly involved in the development of schizophrenia in cases with a familial loading of the disease. This would also explain the difficulty of replicating this association in consecutively ascertained case-control samples, which usually comprise only a small proportion of subjects with a family history of disease.

Genetic Linkage and Association Studies in Bipolar Affective Disorder: a Time for Optimism

American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part C, Seminars in Medical Genetics. Nov, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14601035

Genetic research on complex diseases is beginning to bear fruit, with the successful identification of candidate susceptibility genes in diabetes, asthma, and other illnesses. Similar success is on the horizon for bipolar affective disorder (BPAD), but significant challenges remain. In this review, we outline the basic concepts of linkage and association mapping for complex phenotypes. We point out important caveats inherent in both approaches, and review guidelines on the interpretation of linkage statistics and significance thresholds. We then apply these concepts to an evaluation of the present status of genetic linkage and association studies in BPAD. The challenges posed by locus heterogeneity, phenotype definition, and sample size requirements are given a detailed treatment. Despite these challenges, we argue that the way ahead remains firmly rooted in linkage studies, complemented by association studies in linked regions. This is the only truly genome-wide approach currently available; it has succeeded in other complex phenotypes, and it is the surest strategy for mapping susceptibility genes in BPAD. Once these genes are identified, genetic mapping methods will yield to the other methods of 21st-century molecular biology as we begin to elucidate the pathophysiology of BPAD.

Age at Onset in Bipolar I Affective Disorder: Further Evidence for Three Subgroups

The American Journal of Psychiatry. May, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12727708

Preliminary data suggested that there are three subgroups of bipolar affective disorder based on age at onset. The authors sought to replicate those findings and determine the cut-off age of each subgroup.

Is There a Phenotypic Difference Between Probands in Case-control Versus Family-based Association Studies?

American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric Genetics : the Official Publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. Apr, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12627460

Additional, Physically Ordered Markers Increase Linkage Signal for Bipolar Disorder on Chromosome 18q22

Biological Psychiatry. Feb, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12559657

We recently reported evidence of linkage of bipolar disorder to chromosome 18q, with a paternal logarithm of odds (LOD) score of 4.67 (p =.004) in a clinically defined subset of families. Like other linkage studies, we had to rely on imprecise genetic maps to establish the marker order. Here, we test for linkage in the same sample with a denser set of markers, now physically ordered according to the draft sequence of the human genome.

From Degeneration to Genetic Susceptibility, from Eugenics to Genethics, from Bezugsziffer to LOD Score: the History of Psychiatric Genetics

International Review of Psychiatry (Abingdon, England). Nov, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 16194759

Reviewing the history of psychiatric genetics is a difficult task, since--in contrast to genetic research into most other disorders--it cannot simply be done by chronologically listing methodological achievements and major findings. Instead, it necessitates a comprehensive assessment of how the aetiological concept of mental disorders has developed since as early as the world of ancient Greece. Furthermore, it has to touch upon the sensitive issue of the eugenic movement that was closely linked to the study of heredity in mental disorders in the first half of the 20th century and, in Nazi Germany, led to the systematic mass murder of psychiatric patients. Finally, reviewing the scientific dimensions, history of psychiatric genetics is at the same time a walk through the history of complex genetics in general. In our review, we try to pay tribute to this complexity. We argue that psychiatric genetics has not only propelled our understanding of mental disorders but has significantly benefited genetic research into other complex disorders through the development of methodologically robust approaches (e.g., systematic phenotype characterisation, methods to control for ascertainment biases, age-correction). Given the recent reasons for new optimism, i.e., the identification of susceptibility genes for psychiatric phenotypes, a continued methodologically sound approach is needed more than ever to guarantee robust results. Finally, psychiatric genetic research should never again be performed in an environment void of ethical standards.

Defining the Phenotype in Human Genetic Studies: Forward Genetics and Reverse Phenotyping

Human Heredity. 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15812169

The definition of phenotypes for genetic study is a challenging endeavor. Just as we apply strict quality standards to genotype data, we should expect that phenotypes meet consistently high standards of reproducibility and validity. The methods for achieving accurate phenotype assignment in the research setting--the 'research diagnosis'--are different from the methods used in clinical diagnosis in the patient care setting. We evaluate some of the main challenges of phenotype definition in human genetics, and begin to outline a set of standards to which phenotypes used in genetics studies may aspire with the goal of increasing the quality and reproducibility of linkage and association studies. Revisiting the traditional phenotype definitions through a focus on familial components and heritable endophenotypes is a time-honored approach. Reverse phenotyping, where phenotypes are refined based on genetic marker data, may be a promising new approach. The stakes are high, since the success of gene mapping in genetically complex disorders hinges on the ability to delineate the target phenotype with accuracy and precision.

Computer-assisted Phenotype Characterization for Genetic Research in Psychiatry

Human Heredity. 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15812168

Psychiatric disorders differ from other complex phenotypes in their lack of objectively assessable biological markers that contribute to the establishment of a research diagnosis for genetic studies. To nevertheless allow for the delineation of genetically meaningful diagnostic entities for psychiatric genetic research, comprehensive phenotype characterization procedures are required. It is widely agreed that these should include the standardized assessment of life-time clinical symptomatology, sociodemographic, and environmental factors. Data should be based on several sources, i.e. diagnostic interviews with probands and their relatives as well as a thorough review of medical records, and final assignment of diagnosis should follow robust algorithms (i.e. best-estimate procedures, consensus diagnosis). Here, we outline a practical implementation of such a phenotype characterization strategy, including patient recruitment, study enrolment procedures, comprehensive diagnostic assessment, and data management. We argue that successful psychiatric phenotype characterization requires flexible tools. For this purpose, we have developed a computer-assisted phenotype characterization inventory, built around the backbone of a relational database. It allows for the straightforward assessment of symptoms, automated error checks and diagnostic assignment, easily manageable data storage and handling, and flexible data transfer between various research centers even across language barriers, while at the same time keeping up with the highest standards for the protection of sensitive patient data.

Shape Changes in Prefrontal, but Not Parieto-occipital Regions: Brains of Schizophrenic Patients Come Closer to a Circle in Coronal and Sagittal View

Psychiatry Research. Dec, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15664797

There is some evidence for prefrontal (PF) lobe changes in schizophrenia while the parieto-occipital (PO) region seems to be unaffected. This magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study was performed to examine shape differences as part of the spectrum of structural abnormalities in schizophrenia. The measurements were done on families affected with schizophrenia to identify the influence of genetic and environmental factors on these changes. The sample under study consisted of 164 subjects including 45 family members (FM) suffering from schizophrenia, 27 FM with other psychiatric disorders and 51 FM without psychiatric disorders based on ICD-10 criteria. In addition, 41 nonpsychiatric control subjects were included in the study. On defined planes at the corpus callosum boundary of the PF and the PO, brain width, height and length were measured on coronal slices. Ratios of these linear measurements were also calculated based on the idea that a plane can be approximated by a circle if the concerning ratio comes close to 1. It was hypothesized that these relative brain shape parameters, especially the PF ratio width/height, would show differences between schizophrenic patients and control subjects. For all members from families with schizophrenia compared with control subjects, there were significant differences in the PF, but not in the PO region. PF height was increased. PF ratios of width/height and height/(2 x length) were closer to 1 in affected families than in control subjects. The results can be interpreted as an indication for PF brain shape changes in subjects with a disposition for schizophrenia. On coronal and sagittal planes situated at the corpus callosum, their PF could be approximated by a circle better than in control subjects. As the frontal lobe takes shape late in brain development, underlying genetic mechanisms may be dysregulated in schizophrenic patients and subjects at risk to develop the disorder.

Systematic Screening for Mutations in the Human N-methyl-D-aspartate Receptor 1 Gene in Schizophrenic Patients from the German Population

Psychiatric Genetics. Dec, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15564900

Evidence for a dysfunction of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) type of ionotropic glutamate receptors in schizophrenic patients, comes from neurochemical and clinical pharmacologic data. Therefore, the NMDAR1 gene can be regarded as an interesting candidate gene for schizophrenia. Several groups have tried to identify variants of this gene in schizophrenic patients in different, however not in German, populations. We sought to identify sequence changes of potential functional relevance in genomic DNA from 46 German unrelated schizophrenic patients by means of single-strand conformation analysis. No mutations of likely functional relevance were observed. We identified two synonymous coding Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (cSNPs) in exons 6 and 7, and two SNPs in exon-flanking intronic sequences. Genotype distribution of these four SNPs was not significantly different between schizophrenic patients and controls. Our results suggest that the NMDAR1 subunit is not frequently involved in the development of schizophrenia in the German population.

Neither Single-marker nor Haplotype Analyses Support an Association Between Genetic Variation Near NOTCH4 and Bipolar Disorder

American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric Genetics : the Official Publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. Nov, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15384085

Markers near the NOTCH4 locus on chromosome 6p21.3 have been reported to be associated with schizophrenia in some studies. Since schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) may share genetic determinants, we tested markers in and near NOTCH4 in a sample of 153 parent-offspring triads ascertained through a sibling pair with BPAD for evidence of association. This sample would have 80% power to detect an association at or above a genotype relative risk of 2.4 at the 10(-7) level of significance. In addition to the two markers previously showing the most significant association with schizophrenia, three additional nearby markers were studied. The five markers were genotyped using validated methods. Both single-marker and 3-marker haplotype data was analyzed using family-based association methods. No genome-wide significant association was detected between any of the five SNP-markers and BPAD in this sample. One marker showed nominal evidence of association (P = 0.049), but this evidence was not supported by haplotype analyses including nearby flanking markers or by case-control analysis using 93 Caucasian controls. These results do not support an association between genetic variation near NOTCH4 and BPAD in this sample.

Lack of Support for a Genetic Association of the XBP1 Promoter Polymorphism with Bipolar Disorder in Probands of European Origin

Nature Genetics. Aug, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15284840

Loci on Chromosomes 6q and 6p Interact to Increase Susceptibility to Bipolar Affective Disorder in the National Institute of Mental Health Genetics Initiative Pedigrees

Biological Psychiatry. Jul, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15219468

We have reported genetic linkage between bipolar disorder and markers on chromosome 6q16.3-22.1 in the National Institute of Mental Health Genetics Initiative wave 3 pedigrees. Here we test for: 1) robustness of the linkage to differing analysis methods, genotyping error, and gender-specific maps; 2) parent-of-origin effects; and 3) interaction with markers within the schizophrenia linkage region on chromosome 6p.

Family-based Association Studies of Alpha-adrenergic Receptor Genes in Chromosomal Regions with Linkage to Bipolar Affective Disorder

American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric Genetics : the Official Publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. Apr, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15048653

Several lines of evidence suggest an involvement of the noradrenergic neurotransmitter system in the pathogenesis of bipolar affective disorder (BPAD). Three genes for alpha-adrenergic receptors (ADRA) are located in chromosomal regions that showed evidence for linkage: The alpha(1c)-adrenergic (ADRA-1C) receptor gene on 8p21, the alpha(2a)-adrenergic (ADRA-2A) receptor gene on 10q25, and the alpha(2c)-adrenergic (ADRA-2C) receptor on 4p16. In a BPAD sample of 120 parent-offspring triads, we genotyped a 492 Cys/Arg variant in exon 2 of the ADRA-1C gene, a -1291 G/C variant in the 5'UTR of the ADRA-2A gene, and a STR marker (adra2c1) in the 5'UTR of the ADRA-2C gene. Using the Transmission Disequilibrium Test (TDT), no significant differences in transmissions were observed for any of the three ADRA genes.

Defining Haplotype Blocks and Tag Single-nucleotide Polymorphisms in the Human Genome

Human Molecular Genetics. Feb, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 14681300

Recent studies suggest that the genome is organized into blocks of haplotypes, and efforts to create a genome-wide haplotype map of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are already underway. Haplotype blocks are defined algorithmically and to date several algorithms have been proposed. However, little is known about their relative performance in real data or about the impact of allele frequencies and parameter choices on the detection of haplotype blocks and the markers that tag them. Here we present a formal comparison of two major algorithms, a linkage disequilibrium (LD)-based method and a dynamic programming algorithm (DPA), in three chromosomal regions differing in gene content and recombination rate. The two methods produced strikingly different results. DPA identified fewer and larger haplotype blocks as well as a smaller set of tag SNPs than the LD method. For both methods, the results were strongly dependent on the allele frequency. Decreasing the minor allele frequency led to an up to 3.7-fold increase in the number of haplotype blocks and tag SNPs. Definition of haploytpe blocks and tag SNPs was also sensitive to parameter changes, but the results could not be reconciled simply by parameter adjustment. These results show that two major methods for detecting haplotype blocks and tag SNPs can produce different results in the same data and that these results are sensitive to marker allele frequencies and parameter choices. More information is needed to guide the choice of method, marker allele frequencies, and parameters in the development of a haplotype map.

Genomewide Scan and Fine-mapping Linkage Studies in Four European Samples with Bipolar Affective Disorder Suggest a New Susceptibility Locus on Chromosome 1p35-p36 and Provides Further Evidence of Loci on Chromosome 4q31 and 6q24

American Journal of Human Genetics. Dec, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16380920

We present the findings of a large linkage study of bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) that involved genomewide analysis of 52 families (448 genotyped individuals) of Spanish, Romany, and Bulgarian descent and further fine mapping of the 1p34-p36, 4q28-q31, and 6q15-q24 regions. An additional sample of 56 German families (280 individuals) was included for this fine-mapping step. The highest nonparametric linkage scores obtained in the fine mapping were 5.49 for 4q31 and 4.87 for 6q24 in the Romany families and 3.97 for 1p35-p36 in the Spanish sample. MOD-score (LOD scores maximized over genetic model parameters) analysis provided significant evidence of linkage to 4q31 and at least borderline significance for the 1p and 6q regions. On the basis of these results and previous positive research findings, 4q31 and 6q24 should now be considered confirmed BPAD susceptibility loci, and 1p35-p36 is proposed as a new putative locus that requires confirmation in replication studies.

Genotype-phenotype Studies in Bipolar Disorder Showing Association Between the DAOA/G30 Locus and Persecutory Delusions: a First Step Toward a Molecular Genetic Classification of Psychiatric Phenotypes

The American Journal of Psychiatry. Nov, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16263850

The authors previously reported an association between the D-amino acid oxidase activator (DAOA)/G30 locus and both schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder. Given the presumed role of DAOA/G30 in the neurochemistry of psychosis and its localization in a schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder linkage region (13q34), it was hypothesized that the bipolar affective disorder finding would be mainly due to an association with psychotic features.

No Evidence for an Association Between Variants at the Proline Dehydrogenase Locus and Schizophrenia or Bipolar Affective Disorder

Psychiatric Genetics. Sep, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16094254

The proline dehydrogenase locus must be considered as a positional and functional candidate in schizophrenia. It is located in the chromosomal region of the velocardiofacial syndrome on 22q11 that is suspected to contain genes relevant to schizophrenia, and is involved in the metabolism of neurotransmitters. Positive association between single-nucleotide polymorphisms at the proline dehydrogenase locus and schizophrenia further supported the role of proline dehydrogenase in the development of schizophrenia. In order to replicate these findings, we analyzed three single-nucleotide polymorphisms in a sample comprising 299 schizophrenic patients and 300 controls. In addition, we assessed whether proline dehydrogenase also contributes to bipolar affective disorder, because chromosome 22q11 is also implicated in bipolar affective disorder. We therefore included 300 patients with bipolar affective disorder. This is the first study on a potential involvement of the proline dehydrogenase locus in bipolar affective disorder. Neither single marker nor haplotype analysis revealed an association between variants at the proline dehydrogenase locus and schizophrenia or bipolar affective disorder.

Evidence for a Relationship Between Genetic Variants at the Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Locus and Major Depression

Biological Psychiatry. Aug, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16005437

Previous genetic studies investigating a possible involvement of variations at the brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene locus in major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar affective disorder (BPAD), and schizophrenia have provided inconsistent results.

Familial Variation in Episode Frequency in Bipolar Affective Disorder

The American Journal of Psychiatry. Jul, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15994708

Bipolar affective disorder is a familial illness characterized by recurrent episodes of mania and depression, but little is known about the familial nature of episode recurrence or its associated clinical features. The authors analyzed the recurrence frequency of affective episodes (episode frequency), along with associated clinical and demographic variables, in families with at least three members with a major affective disorder.

No Association Between the Putative Functional ZDHHC8 Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Rs175174 and Schizophrenia in Large European Samples

Biological Psychiatry. Jul, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15992527

It has been recently reported that a functional variant in the ZDHHC8 gene encoding a putative palmitoyltransferase directly confers susceptibility to schizophrenia in females ().

Genetic Variation in the Human Androgen Receptor Gene is the Major Determinant of Common Early-onset Androgenetic Alopecia

American Journal of Human Genetics. Jul, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15902657

Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), or male-pattern baldness, is the most common form of hair loss. Its pathogenesis is androgen dependent, and genetic predisposition is the major requirement for the phenotype. We demonstrate that genetic variability in the androgen receptor gene (AR) is the cardinal prerequisite for the development of early-onset AGA, with an etiological fraction of 0.46. The investigation of a large number of genetic variants covering the AR locus suggests that a polyglycine-encoding GGN repeat in exon 1 is a plausible candidate for conferring the functional effect. The X-chromosomal location of AR stresses the importance of the maternal line in the inheritance of AGA.

The Power of Sample Size and Homogenous Sampling: Association Between the 5-HTTLPR Serotonin Transporter Polymorphism and Major Depressive Disorder

Biological Psychiatry. Feb, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15691525

Several lines of evidence indicate that abnormalities in the functioning of the central serotonergic system are involved in the pathogenesis of affective illness. A 44-base-pair insertion/deletion polymorphism in the 5' regulatory region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR), which influences expression of the serotonin transporter, has been the focus of intensive research since an initial report on an association between 5-HTTLPR and depression-related personality traits. Consistently replicated evidence for an involvement of this polymorphism in the etiology of mood disorders, particularly in major depressive disorder (MDD), remains scant.

What is Familial About Familial Bipolar Disorder? Resemblance Among Relatives Across a Broad Spectrum of Phenotypic Characteristics

Archives of General Psychiatry. Dec, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 17146011

Current diagnostic criteria for bipolar affective disorder define a phenotype that is highly heritable, yet clinically variable. A more homogeneous definition might facilitate genetic and other studies, but the best approach is unclear. Familial features of bipolar disorder should help define more homogeneous subtypes, but there are few data indicating which clinical features of bipolar disorder are the most familial.

No Association Between Genetic Variants at the ASCT1 Gene and Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder in a German Sample

Psychiatric Genetics. Dec, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 17106422

Altered glutamatergic neurotransmission is considered a potential etiological factor of schizophrenia (SCZ) and affective disorders. The gene ASCT1 (SLC1A4) coding for a Na+-dependent neutral aminoacid transporter is a member of the glutamate transporter superfamily and is located on 2p13-14, a region showing linkage to both SCZ and bipolar disorder (BD). ASCT1 can thus be considered a candidate gene for both disorders. In a German sample, we tested for association between ASCT1 and both SCZ and BD. Allele and haplotype frequencies, however, did not differ between cases and controls. Recent findings on the associations between brainderived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and SCZ and between G72/G30 and BD suggest that SCZ patients with a history of major depressive episodes (MDE) outside psychotic episodes and BD cases with a history of persecutory delusions constitute genetically distinct subgroups of these disorders. Thus, we hypothesized that restricting case definition to those 95 SCZ individuals with MDE and to those 107 BD patients with a history of persecutory delusions might clarify the relationship between BD, SCZ and ASCT1. However, these stratification approaches did not yield any significant association either. Allele and haplotype frequencies did not differ between cases and controls. Our results do not support an association of the ASCT1 gene with BD or SCZ in the German population.

[The 5 Year Young Psychiatrist Program: A Contribution for the Young Generation in Psychiatry in Germany]

Der Nervenarzt. Nov, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 17091314

No Evidence for Association Between NOTCH4 and Schizophrenia in a Large Family-based and Case-control Association Analysis

Psychiatric Genetics. Oct, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16969274

An analysis of 80 British parent-offspring trios by Wei and Hemmings in 2000 revealed thre1e out of five markers within the NOTCH4 locus to be strongly associated with schizophrenia. In our present study, we have examined NOTCH4 markers in large samples of German and Palestinian-Arab origin.

No Association Between Genetic Variants at the GRIN1 Gene and Bipolar Disorder in a German Sample

Psychiatric Genetics. Oct, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16969270

Disturbed glutamatergic neurotransmission has been implicated in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, with the N-methy-D-aspartate receptors being in the focus of research. The NR1 subunit, which is encoded by the gene GRIN1, plays a key role in the functionality of N-methy-D-aspartate receptors. We tested the association between GRIN1 and bipolar disorder in a sample of German descent, consisting of 306 bipolar disorder patients and 319 population-based controls. No significant association was found. In accordance with our recent findings, we hypothesized that restricting case definition to individuals with a history of persecutory delusions might clarify the relationship between bipolar disorder and GRIN1. This stratified analysis did not yield any significant association either. Our results do not support an association of the GRIN1 gene with bipolar disorder in the German population.

Association Study Between Genetic Variants at the PIP5K2A Gene Locus and Schizophrenia and Bipolar Affective Disorder

American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric Genetics : the Official Publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. Sep, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16823801

Results from molecular and pharmacological studies point to involvement of the gene coding for the phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate 5-kinase type II-alpha (PIP5K2A) in the development of schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder (BPAD). The PIP5K2A gene locus, which is located on chromosomal region 10p12, has been implicated in the development of both disorders by independent linkage and association studies. On a cellular level, PIP5K2A is an enzyme component of the metabolism of inositol phosphate, which has been considered a potential target for the therapeutic action of lithium in BPAD patients. Given that the PIP5K2A gene is a promising candidate for the development of both disorders, we performed an association study between genetic variants at the PIP5K2A locus and 268 patients with schizophrenia, 260 patients with BPAD and 325 ethnically matched healthy controls. We failed to detect association to either disorder using PIP5K2A gene variants through single-marker and haplotype analysis. Therefore, our data does not support an involvement of the PIP5K2A locus in the etiology of either schizophrenia or BPAD in the German population.

No Association Between Genetic Variants at the GLYT2 Gene and Bipolar Affective Disorder and Schizophrenia

Psychiatric Genetics. Jun, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16691125

Association Study of a Functional Promoter Polymorphism in the XBP1 Gene and Schizophrenia

American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric Genetics : the Official Publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. Jan, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16342282

A functional promoter polymorphism (-116C/G) of the X-box binding protein 1 gene (XBP1) gene was reported to be associated with schizophrenia in Asian subjects. In a replication attempt, three European case-control samples comprising 2,182 German, Polish, and Swedish subjects, were genotyped for the XBP1 -116C/G polymorphism. Allele and genotype frequencies were compared between schizophrenic patients and control subjects. There were no significant case-control differences in any of the three samples, although in a meta-analysis with previous results comprising 3,612 subjects there was a borderline association between the -116G-containing genotypes and schizophrenia. We conclude that the functional XBP1 gene polymorphism is not of major importance to schizophrenia in the European populations investigated. It cannot be excluded, however, that the XBP1 polymorphism is involved in schizophrenia in other populations or adds minor susceptibility to the disorder.

Relation Between Cerebrospinal Fluid, Gray Matter and White Matter Changes in Families with Schizophrenia

Journal of Psychiatric Research. Oct, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16019030

Gray matter reduction and ventricular enlargement belong to the best replicated findings in schizophrenia. Brain morphologic changes were also found in non-schizophrenic family members (FM). The intention of this study was to examine whether non-psychotic first-degree relatives reveal similar morphologic changes as schizophrenic patients and how state of genetic loading contribute to these abnormalities.

The First Genomewide Interaction and Locus-heterogeneity Linkage Scan in Bipolar Affective Disorder: Strong Evidence of Epistatic Effects Between Loci on Chromosomes 2q and 6q

American Journal of Human Genetics. Nov, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17924339

We present the first genomewide interaction and locus-heterogeneity linkage scan in bipolar affective disorder (BPAD), using a large linkage data set (52 families of European descent; 448 participants and 259 affected individuals). Our results provide the strongest interaction evidence between BPAD genes on chromosomes 2q22-q24 and 6q23-q24, which was observed symmetrically in both directions (nonparametric LOD [NPL] scores of 7.55 on 2q and 7.63 on 6q; P<.0001 and P=.0001, respectively, after a genomewide permutation procedure). The second-best BPAD interaction evidence was observed between chromosomes 2q22-q24 and 15q26. Here, we also observed a symmetrical interaction (NPL scores of 6.26 on 2q and 4.59 on 15q; P=.0057 and .0022, respectively). We covered the implicated regions by genotyping additional marker sets and performed a detailed interaction linkage analysis, which narrowed the susceptibility intervals. Although the heterogeneity analysis produced less impressive results (highest NPL score of 3.32) and a less consistent picture, we achieved evidence of locus heterogeneity at chromosomes 2q, 6p, 11p, 13q, and 22q, which was supported by adjacent markers within each region and by previously reported BPAD linkage findings. Our results provide systematic insights in the framework of BPAD epistasis and locus heterogeneity, which should facilitate gene identification by the use of more-comprehensive cloning strategies.

Possible Association Between Genetic Variants at the GRIN1 Gene and Schizophrenia with Lifetime History of Depressive Symptoms in a German Sample

Psychiatric Genetics. Oct, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17728671

Genetic variation in glutamatergic signalling pathways is believed to play a substantial role in the aetiology of schizophrenia. The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit gene GRIN1 has been proposed as a candidate gene for schizophrenia. We tested for a potential association between schizophrenia and four single nucleotide polymorphisms (rs4880213, rs11146020, rs6293, and rs10747050) and one microsatellite marker at GRIN1 in a German sample of 354 patients and 323 controls. We found significant associations in single-marker and haplotype-based analyses (P<0.05). Significance was more pronounced (P<0.01) in the subset of patients with a lifetime history of major depression, a subgroup of schizophrenia described previously as a promising phenotypic subtype in genetic studies of schizophrenia. Although significances did not withstand correction for multiple testing, the results of our exploratory analysis warrant further studies on GRIN1 and schizophrenia.

The Bipolar Disorder Phenome Database: a Resource for Genetic Studies

The American Journal of Psychiatry. Aug, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17671286

The purpose of this study was to assemble and validate a database of phenotypic variables that were collected from families with bipolar disorder as a resource for genetic and other biological studies.

Mitochondrial DNA HV Lineage Increases the Susceptibility to Schizophrenia Among Israeli Arabs

Schizophrenia Research. Aug, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17566709

Haplotypes and haplogroups are linked sets of common DNA variants, acting as susceptibility or protective factors to complex disorders. Growing evidence suggests that dysfunction of mitochondrial bioenergetics contributes to the schizophrenia phenotype. We studied mitochondrial DNA haplogroups in schizophrenia patients. Since mitochondria are inherited from the mothers, we used healthy fathers as an ideal case-control group. Analysis of the distribution of mitochondrial haplogroups in schizophrenia patients compared to their healthy fathers (202 pairs) resulted in an over-representation of the mtDNA lineage cluster, HV, in the patients (p=0.01), with increased relative risk (odds ratio) of 1.8. Since mitochondrial DNA is small relative to nuclear DNA, a total mitochondrial genome analysis was possible in a hypothesis-free manner. However, mitochondrial DNA haplogroups are highly variable in human population and it will be necessary to replicate our results in other human ethnic groups.

Interacting Effects of the Dopamine Transporter Gene and Psychosocial Adversity on Attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms Among 15-year-olds from a High-risk Community Sample

Archives of General Psychiatry. May, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17485610

Recent evidence suggests that gene x environment interactions could explain the inconsistent findings of association studies relating the dopamine transporter (DAT1) gene with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

No Association Between the Serine Racemase Gene (SRR) and Bipolar Disorder in a German Case-control Sample

Psychiatric Genetics. Apr, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17413456

No Association Between the Serine Racemase Gene (SRR) and Schizophrenia in a German Case-control Sample

Psychiatric Genetics. Apr, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17413455

No Association Between a Common Haplotype of the 6 and 10-repeat Alleles in Intron 8 and the 3'UTR of the DAT1 Gene and Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Psychiatric Genetics. Apr, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17413453

Premorbid Adjustment in Schizophrenia--an Important Aspect of Phenotype Definition

Schizophrenia Research. May, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17369026

Schizophrenia is a heterogeneous disorder, and early signs of disorder such as poor premorbid adjustment (PMA) are often present before the onset of diagnosable illness. Differences in PMA between patients may be suggestive of differing aetiological pathways. Poor PMA in schizophrenia has repeatedly been reported to be associated with male sex, earlier age at onset, illness severity, negative symptoms, and poor outcome. Studies of schizophrenia patients systematically assessed for PMA have used small patient samples and have rarely used controls.

No Evidence for an Association Between Variants at the Gamma-amino-n-butyric Acid Type A Receptor Beta2 Locus and Schizophrenia

Psychiatric Genetics. Feb, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17167345

The alpha1/beta2/gamma2-containing heteropentamer is the most abundant gamma-amino-n-butyric acid type A receptor subtype in mammalian brains and the corresponding genes, the GABRA1, GABRB2, and GABRG2 genes, are located in chromosomal region 5q34 that several genome wide scans have implicated as a susceptibility region for schizophrenia. Given this positional and functional evidence, Lo et al. (Mol Psychiatry 2004; 9: 603-608) performed systematic linkage disequilibrium mapping of the GABAAR gene cluster on 5q34 in 130 schizophrenic patients and 170 controls, all of Chinese Han origin. In the single locus and haplotype analyses, single nucleotide polymorphisms in the GABRB2 gene showed highly significant association. The estimated effect caused by GABRB2 varied between odds ratios of 2.27 and 5.12. In order to re-examine their findings, we analyzed the most significantly associated single nucleotide polymorphism in the GABRB2 gene in a sample of 367 patients with schizophrenia and 360 controls, all of German descent. Our sample had a sufficient power to detect the effects described. Neither single marker nor haplotype analysis revealed a significant association with the disease status. Thus, our results do not support the hypothesis that genetic variation at the GABRB2 locus plays a major role in schizophrenic patients of European descent and that such variation would explain the previously observed linkage findings at this chromosomal region.

Disturbed Frontal Gyrification Within Families Affected with Schizophrenia

Journal of Psychiatric Research. Nov, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17070846

Recently, in a post-mortem and a subsequent structural MR study, a significantly increased gyrification index (GI) was demonstrated in the frontal lobe in individuals with schizophrenia. To examine whether frontal lobe hypergyria is region-specific and whether this might be a suitable endophenotype in the search for the genetic basis of schizophrenia, the frontal as well as parieto-occipital GI were determined in MRI scans of families affected with schizophrenia.

Identification of Loci Associated with Schizophrenia by Genome-wide Association and Follow-up

Nature Genetics. Sep, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18677311

We carried out a genome-wide association study of schizophrenia (479 cases, 2,937 controls) and tested loci with P < 10(-5) in up to 16,726 additional subjects. Of 12 loci followed up, 3 had strong independent support (P < 5 x 10(-4)), and the overall pattern of replication was unlikely to occur by chance (P = 9 x 10(-8)). Meta-analysis provided strongest evidence for association around ZNF804A (P = 1.61 x 10(-7)) and this strengthened when the affected phenotype included bipolar disorder (P = 9.96 x 10(-9)).

The Hippocampus in Families with Schizophrenia in Relation to Obstetric Complications

Schizophrenia Research. Sep, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18656329

Hippocampal volume reduction is a well replicated finding in schizophrenia. Evidence indicates a contribution of genetic and environmental factors, especially the influence of obstetric complications to this volume reduction. The aim of this study was to compare hippocampal volume of schizophrenic patients as well as and their relatives with control subjects and to quantify the additional contribution of obstetric complications.

Association Study Between Genetic Variants at the VAMP2 and VAMP3 Loci and Bipolar Affective Disorder

Psychiatric Genetics. Aug, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18628682

Vesicle-associated membrane proteins 2 and 3 (VAMP2 and VAMP3) are required for the release of D-serine, a competitive agonist of the neurotransmitter glycine at the glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. Several lines of evidence point to an involvement of altered D-serine levels in the central nervous system in the aetiology of bipolar affective disorder (BPAD). Strong association findings between BPAD and two genes, G72 and DAAO, which are involved in the enzymatic degradation of D-serine, are reported. Based on the functional evidence and on the hypothesis that further genes, which are involved in the regulation of D-serine, could be involved in the disease aetiology, we considered VAMP2 and VAMP3 as candidate genes for BPAD.

Brief Report: No Association Between Premorbid Adjustment in Adult-onset Schizophrenia and Genetic Variation in Dysbindin

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Nov, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18473158

Whereas Dysbindin is considered a schizophrenia vulnerability gene, there is no consistency of findings. Phenotype refinement approaches may help to increase the genetic homogeneity and thus reconcile conflicting results. Premorbid adjustment (PMA) has been suggested to aid the phenotypic dissection. Gornick et al. (J Autism Dev Disord 35:831-838, 2005) reported an association between Dysbindin and PMA in US-Caucasian individuals with childhood-onset psychosis. In a sample of 222 adult-onset schizophrenia inpatients from Germany, we could not detect an association between PMA and 36 SNPs in Dysbindin. Our results suggest that genetic variation in Dysbindin may not contribute to the schizophrenia phenotype with an onset beyond childhood. Further studies including even larger samples and more SNPs may be warranted to clarify the relationship between Dysbindin and PMA.

G72 and Its Association with Major Depression and Neuroticism in Large Population-based Groups from Germany

The American Journal of Psychiatry. Jun, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18346999

G72 is among the most frequently replicated vulnerability genes for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The authors previously found identical haplotypes of markers M23 and M24 to be associated with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and panic disorder. Given both the well-recognized familial clustering across these disorders and recent linkage findings implicating the region harboring G72 in the etiology of major depression and panic disorder, we can hypothesize that G72 should also be involved in the etiology of major depression. Neuroticism, measuring trait anxiety, may be the endophenotypic link underlying genetic associations with G72 across diagnostic boundaries. The authors tested whether the previously observed risk haplotypes are also associated with major depression and neuroticism.

First Experiences with Contrast-enhanced First-pass MR Perfusion Imaging in Patients with Primary, Benign Cardiac Masses and Tumour-like Lesions

European Radiology. Aug, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18343927

The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic value of contrast-enhanced first-pass perfusion MRI in patients with suspected cardiac masses and tumour-like lesions. Twenty patients underwent contrast-enhanced first-pass saturation-recovery steady-state-free-precession perfusion MRI in addition to clinical MRI. Eleven diagnostic parameters were analysed blinded in consensus by three observers: localisation (paracardiac/mural/intracavitary), malignancy (benign/malignant) and first-pass enhancement pattern (homogeneous/heterogeneous as well as non-perfused/hypoperfused/iso-perfused/ hyperperfused). The results were compared to combined references comprising histology, cytology, medical and surgical reports, echocardiography, chest X-ray, coronary angiography and regular MRI. Also, we analysed if additional first-pass perfusion confirmed, changed or reduced the number of differential diagnoses compared to clinical MRI. All cardiac masses or tumour-like lesions were correctly localised and scored as benign lesions. For homogeneous perfused lesions the sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value was 94/100/100/67%, 100/94/67/100% for heterogeneous perfused lesions, 92/100/100/88% for non-perfused, 100/94/75/100 for hypoperfused, 100/100/100/100% for hyperperfused and for isoperfused lesions. In 17/2/1 cases perfusion MRI confirmed, reduced or increased the number of potential differentials. First-pass perfusion MRI provides valuable information in patients with benign cardiac masses or tumour-like lesions. Further experience is needed to underline these preliminary observations.

Brain-specific Tryptophan Hydroxylase 2 (TPH2): a Functional Pro206Ser Substitution and Variation in the 5'-region Are Associated with Bipolar Affective Disorder

Human Molecular Genetics. Jan, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 17905754

The neurotransmitter serotonin [5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)] controls a broad range of biological functions that are disturbed in affective disorder. In the brain, 5-HT production is controlled by tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2). In order to assess the possible contribution of TPH2 genetic variability to the aetiology of bipolar affective disorder (BPAD), we systematically investigated common and rare genetic variation in the TPH2 gene through a sequential sequencing and SNP-based genotyping approach. Our study sample comprised two cohorts of BPAD from Germany and Russia, totalling 883 patients and 1300 controls. SNPs located in a haplotype block covering the 5' region of the gene as well as a rare, non-synonymous SNP, resulting in a Pro206Ser substitution, showed significant association with bipolar disorder. The odds ratio for the minor allele in the pooled sample was 1.5 (95% CI 1.2-1.9) for rs11178997 (in the 5'-associated haplotype block) and 4.8 (95% CI 1.6-14.8) for rs17110563 encoding the Pro206Ser substitution. Examination of the functional effects of TPH2 Pro206Ser provided evidence for a reduced thermal stability and solubility of the mutated enzyme, suggesting reduced 5-HT production in the brain as a pathophysiological mechanism in BPAD.

Reduction of the Internal Capsule in Families Affected with Schizophrenia

Biological Psychiatry. Jan, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 17574215

The anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC), connecting cortical and subcortical structures, is involved in functional important circuits. To detect volumetric changes in ALIC, including the influence of genetic factors, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study of families affected with schizophrenia was performed.

Microduplications of 16p11.2 Are Associated with Schizophrenia

Nature Genetics. Nov, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19855392

Recurrent microdeletions and microduplications of a 600-kb genomic region of chromosome 16p11.2 have been implicated in childhood-onset developmental disorders. We report the association of 16p11.2 microduplications with schizophrenia in two large cohorts. The microduplication was detected in 12/1,906 (0.63%) cases and 1/3,971 (0.03%) controls (P = 1.2 x 10(-5), OR = 25.8) from the initial cohort, and in 9/2,645 (0.34%) cases and 1/2,420 (0.04%) controls (P = 0.022, OR = 8.3) of the replication cohort. The 16p11.2 microduplication was associated with a 14.5-fold increased risk of schizophrenia (95% CI (3.3, 62)) in the combined sample. A meta-analysis of datasets for multiple psychiatric disorders showed a significant association of the microduplication with schizophrenia (P = 4.8 x 10(-7)), bipolar disorder (P = 0.017) and autism (P = 1.9 x 10(-7)). In contrast, the reciprocal microdeletion was associated only with autism and developmental disorders (P = 2.3 x 10(-13)). Head circumference was larger in patients with the microdeletion than in patients with the microduplication (P = 0.0007).

Mood-incongruent Psychosis in Bipolar Disorder: Conditional Linkage Analysis Shows Genome-wide Suggestive Linkage at 1q32.3, 7p13 and 20q13.31

Bipolar Disorders. Sep, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19689503

The majority of research into functional psychosis has proceeded under the assumption that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are distinct entities with separate underlying disease processes and treatments. This view has been increasingly challenged in both clinical and genetic studies. Findings in recent association studies at two specific genes suggest that the occurrence of mood-incongruent psychotic features may indicate a relatively homogeneous subset of the bipolar phenotype. We examined this hypothesis.

No Association Between Genetic Variants at the DGCR2 Gene and Schizophrenia in a German Sample

Psychiatric Genetics. Apr, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19668116

Dissecting the Phenotype in Genome-wide Association Studies of Psychiatric Illness

The British Journal of Psychiatry : the Journal of Mental Science. Aug, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19648536

Over the past 2 years genome-wide association studies have made major contributions to understanding the genetic architecture of many common human diseases. This editorial outlines the development of such studies in psychiatry and highlights the opportunities for advancing understanding of the biological underpinnings and nosological structure of psychiatric disorders.

Genetic Predictors of Increase in Suicidal Ideation During Antidepressant Treatment in the GENDEP Project

Neuropsychopharmacology : Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Nov, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19641488

The aim of this study was to investigate genetic predictors of an increase in suicidal ideation during treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or a tricyclic antidepressant. A total of 796 adult patients with major depressive disorder who were treated with a flexible dosage of escitalopram or nortriptyline in Genome-based Therapeutic Drugs for Depression (GENDEP) were included in the sample and provided data on suicidal ideation. Nine candidate genes involved in neurotrophic, serotonergic, and noradrenergic pathways were selected based on previous association studies with suicidal ideation or behavior. Using a logistic regression model, 123 polymorphisms in these genes were compared between subjects with an increase in suicidal ideation and those without any increase in suicidal ideation. Polymorphisms in BDNF, the gene encoding the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, were significantly associated with an increase in suicidal ideation. The strongest association was observed for rs962369 in BDNF (p=0.0015). Moreover, a significant interaction was found between variants in BDNF and NTRK2, the gene encoding the BNDF receptor (p=0.0003). Among men taking nortriptyline, suicidality was also associated with rs11195419 SNP in the alpha(2A)-adrenergic receptor gene (ADRA2A) (p=0.007). The associations observed with polymorphisms in BDNF suggest the involvement of the neurotrophic system in vulnerability to suicidality. Epistasis between BDNF and NTRK2 suggests that genetic variations in the two genes are involved in the same causal mechanisms leading to suicidality during antidepressant treatment. Among men, genetic variation in noradrenergic signaling may interact with norepinephrine reuptake-inhibiting antidepressants, thereby contributing to suicidality.

The DISC Locus and Schizophrenia: Evidence from an Association Study in a Central European Sample and from a Meta-analysis Across Different European Populations

Human Molecular Genetics. Jul, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19414483

Association studies, as well as the initial translocation family study, identified the gene Disrupted-In-Schizophrenia-1 (DISC1) as a risk factor for schizophrenia. DISC1 encodes a multifunctional scaffold protein involved in neurodevelopmental processes implicated in the etiology of schizophrenia. The present study explores the contribution of the DISC locus to schizophrenia using three different approaches: (i) systematic association mapping aimed at detecting DISC risk variants in a schizophrenia sample from a central European population (556 SNPs, n = 1621 individuals). In this homogenous sample, a circumscribed DISC1 interval in intron 9 was significantly associated with schizophrenia in females (P = 4 x 10(-5)) and contributed most strongly to early-onset cases (P = 9 x 10(-5)). The odds ratios (ORs) were in the range of 1.46-1.88. (ii) The same sample was used to test for the locus-specific SNP-SNP interaction most recently associated with schizophrenia. Our results confirm the SNP interplay effect between rs1538979 and rs821633 that significantly conferred disease risk in male patients with schizophrenia (P = 0.016, OR 1.57). (iii) In order to detect additional schizophrenia variants, a meta-analysis was performed using nine schizophrenia samples from different European populations (50 SNPs, n = 10 064 individuals maximum, n = 3694 minimum). We found evidence for a common schizophrenia risk interval within DISC1 intron 4-6 (P = 0.002, OR 1.27). The findings point to a complex association between schizophrenia and DISC, including the presence of different risk loci and SNP interplay effects. Furthermore, our phenotype-genotype results--including the consideration of sex-specific effects--highlight the value of homogenous samples in mapping risk genes for schizophrenia in general, and at the DISC locus in particular.

Genetic Predictors of Response to Antidepressants in the GENDEP Project

The Pharmacogenomics Journal. Aug, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19365399

The objective of the Genome-based Therapeutic Drugs for Depression study is to investigate the function of variations in genes encoding key proteins in serotonin, norepinephrine, neurotrophic and glucocorticoid signaling in determining the response to serotonin-reuptake-inhibiting and norepinephrine-reuptake-inhibiting antidepressants. A total of 116 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 10 candidate genes were genotyped in 760 adult patients with moderate-to-severe depression, treated with escitalopram (a serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or nortriptyline (a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) for 12 weeks in an open-label part-randomized multicenter study. The effect of genetic variants on change in depressive symptoms was evaluated using mixed linear models. Several variants in a serotonin receptor gene (HTR2A) predicted response to escitalopram with one marker (rs9316233) explaining 1.1% of variance (P=0.0016). Variants in the norepinephrine transporter gene (SLC6A2) predicted response to nortriptyline, and variants in the glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1) predicted response to both antidepressants. Two HTR2A markers remained significant after hypothesis-wide correction for multiple testing. A false discovery rate of 0.106 for the three strongest associations indicated that the multiple findings are unlikely to be false positives. The pattern of associations indicated a degree of specificity with variants in genes encoding proteins in serotonin signaling influencing response to the serotonin-reuptake-inhibiting escitalopram, genes encoding proteins in norepinephrine signaling influencing response to the norepinephrine-reuptake-inhibiting nortriptyline and a common pathway gene influencing response to both antidepressants. The single marker associations explained only a small proportion of variance in response to antidepressants, indicating a need for a multivariate approach to prediction.

Dissection of Phenotype Reveals Possible Association Between Schizophrenia and Glutamate Receptor Delta 1 (GRID1) Gene Promoter

Schizophrenia Research. Jun, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19346103

Recent linkage and association data have implicated the Glutamate Receptor Delta 1 (GRID1) locus in the etiology of schizophrenia. In this study, we sought to test whether variants in the promoter region are associated with this disorder. The distribution of CpG islands, which are known to be relevant for transcriptional regulation, was computationally determined at the GRID1 locus, and the putative transcriptional regulatory region at the 5'-terminus was systematically tagged using HapMap data. Genotype analyses were performed with 22 haplotype-tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (htSNPs) in a German sample of 919 schizophrenia patients and 773 controls. The study also included two SNPs in intron 2 and one in intron 3 which have been found to be significantly associated with schizophrenia in previous studies. For the transcriptional regulatory region, association was obtained with rs3814614 (p=0.0193), rs10749535 (p=0.0245), and rs11201985 (p=0.0222). For all further analyses, the patient samples were divided into more homogeneous subgroups according to sex, age at onset, positive family history of schizophrenia and lifetime history of major depression. The p-value of the schizophrenia association finding for the three markers decreased by approximately one order of magnitude, despite the reduction in the total sample size. Marker rs3814614 (unadjusted p=0.0005), located approximately 2.0 kb from the transcriptional start point, also withstood a two-step correction for multiple testing (p=0.030). No support was obtained for previously reported associations with the intronic markers. Our results suggest that genetic variants in the GRID1 transcriptional regulatory region may play a role in the etiology of schizophrenia, and that future association studies of schizophrenia may require stratification to ensure more homogeneous patient subgroups.

Premorbid Adjustment: a Phenotype Highlighting a Distinction Rather Than an Overlap Between Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

Schizophrenia Research. May, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19345565

Premorbid adjustment (PMA) in schizophrenia (SZ) has been widely studied and shown to be worse in individuals who develop SZ as compared to controls. It has been proposed as a predictor of clinical presentation and outcome, and may delineate a specific SZ phenotype for genetic and other biological studies. Research into PMA in BD has been scarce and inconclusive.

Sex-specific Association Between the 5-HTT Gene-linked Polymorphic Region and Basal Cortisol Secretion

Psychoneuroendocrinology. Aug, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19249159

A key regulator of serotonergic neurotransmission is the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) and a common 5HTT gene promoter polymorphism, termed 5HTTLPR, is associated with phenotypes related to anxiety and depression. Furthermore, the serotonergic system influences hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity, which, in turn, is related to psychiatric diseases.

No Association Between the D-aspartate Oxidase Locus and Schizophrenia

Psychiatric Genetics. Feb, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19125110

High-resolution 3D Unenhanced ECG-gated Respiratory-navigated MR Angiography of the Renal Arteries: Comparison with Contrast-enhanced MR Angiography

AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology. Dec, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 21098205

The aim of this study is to determine the diagnostic value of high-resolution 3D unenhanced ECG-gated respiratory-navigated MR angiography (MRA) of the renal arteries using a steady-state free precession (SSFP) technique in comparison with 1.0-molar contrast-enhanced MRA in patients with suspected renal artery stenosis.

Genome-wide Association Study of Suicide Attempts in Mood Disorder Patients

The American Journal of Psychiatry. Dec, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 21041247

Family and twin studies suggest that liability for suicide attempts is heritable and distinct from mood disorder susceptibility. The authors therefore examined the association between common genomewide variation and lifetime suicide attempts.

The New HNO Donor, 1-nitrosocyclohexyl Acetate, Increases Contractile Force in Normal and β-adrenergically Desensitized Ventricular Myocytes

Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. Nov, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20946877

Contractile dysfunction and diminished response to β-adrenergic agonists are characteristics for failing hearts. Chemically donated nitroxyl (HNO) improves contractility in failing hearts and thus may have therapeutic potential. Yet, there is a need for pharmacologically suitable donors. In this study we tested whether the pure and long acting HNO donor, 1-nitrosocyclohexyl acetate (NCA), affects contractile force in normal and pathological ventricular myocytes (VMs) as well as in isolated hearts. VMs were isolated from mice either subjected to isoprenaline-infusion (ISO; 30 μg/g per day) or to vehicle (0.9% NaCl) for 5 days. Sarcomere shortening and Ca2+ transients were simultaneously measured using the IonOptix system. Force of contraction of isolated hearts was measured by a Langendorff-perfusion system. NCA increased peak sarcomere shortening by+40-200% in a concentration-dependent manner (EC50 ∼55 μM). Efficacy and potency did not differ between normal and chronic ISO VMs, despite the fact that the latter displayed a markedly diminished inotropic response to acute β-adrenergic stimulation with ISO (1 μM). NCA (60 μM) increased peak sarcomere shortening and Ca2+ transient amplitude by ∼200% and ∼120%, respectively, suggesting effects on both myofilament Ca2+ sensitivity and sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ cycling. Importantly, NCA did not affect diastolic Ca2+ or SR Ca2+ content, as assessed by rapid caffeine application. NCA (45 μM) increased force of contraction by 30% in isolated hearts. In conclusion, NCA increased contractile force in normal and β-adrenergically desensitized VMs as well as in isolated mouse hearts. This profile warrants further investigations of this HNO donor in the context of heart failure.

European Collaborative Study of Early-onset Bipolar Disorder: Evidence for Genetic Heterogeneity on 2q14 According to Age at Onset

American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric Genetics : the Official Publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. Dec, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20886542

Bipolar disorder has a genetic component, but the mode of inheritance remains unclear. A previous genome scan conducted in 70 European families led to detect eight regions linked to bipolar disease. Here, we present an investigation of whether the phenotypic heterogeneity of the disorder corresponds to genetic heterogeneity in these regions using additional markers and an extended sample of families. The MLS statistic was used for linkage analyses. The predivided sample test and the maximum likelihood binomial methods were used to test genetic homogeneity between early-onset bipolar type I (cut-off of 22 years) and other types of the disorder (later onset of bipolar type I and early-onset bipolar type II), using a total of 138 independent bipolar-affected sib-pairs. Analysis of the extended sample of families supports linkage in four regions (2q14, 3p14, 16p23, and 20p12) of the eight regions of linkage suggested by our previous genome scan. Heterogeneity testing revealed genetic heterogeneity between early and late-onset bipolar type I in the 2q14 region (P = 0.0001). Only the early form of the bipolar disorder but not the late form appeared to be linked to this region. This region may therefore include a genetic factor either specifically involved in the early-onset bipolar type I or only influencing the age at onset (AAO). Our findings illustrate that stratification according to AAO may be valuable for the identification of genetic vulnerability polymorphisms. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Genome-wide Association-, Replication-, and Neuroimaging Study Implicates HOMER1 in the Etiology of Major Depression

Biological Psychiatry. Sep, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20673876

Genome-wide association studies are a powerful tool for unravelling the genetic background of complex disorders such as major depression.

The Catechol-O-methyl Transferase (COMT) Gene and Its Potential Association with Schizophrenia: Findings from a Large German Case-control and Family-based Sample

Schizophrenia Research. Sep, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20643532

The aim of the present study was to investigate possible associations between schizophrenia and 13 SNP markers in COMT. No association was observed in 631 cases, 207 nuclear families, and 776 controls. A cognitive performance phenotype (Trail Marking Test) was available for a subgroup of the patients. No association was found between the 13 markers and this phenotype. Four clinically-defined subgroups (early age at onset, negative symptoms, family history of schizophrenia, and life-time major depressive episode) were also investigated. Associations were observed for 3 of these subgroups, although none withstood correction for multiple testing. COMT does not appear to be a risk factor for schizophrenia in this population.

Stressful Life Events, Cognitive Symptoms of Depression and Response to Antidepressants in GENDEP

Journal of Affective Disorders. Dec, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20609482

The occurrence of stressful life events (SLEs) has been shown to predict response to antidepressants; however, results are inconsistent. There is some evidence to suggest that SLEs prior to treatment are associated with greater cognitive symptoms at baseline and may therefore predict changes in these symptoms specifically.

The International Consortium on Lithium Genetics (ConLiGen): an Initiative by the NIMH and IGSLI to Study the Genetic Basis of Response to Lithium Treatment

Neuropsychobiology. 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20453537

For more than half a decade, lithium has been successfully used to treat bipolar disorder. Worldwide, it is considered the first-line mood stabilizer. Apart from its proven antimanic and prophylactic effects, considerable evidence also suggests an antisuicidal effect in affective disorders. Lithium is also effectively used to augment antidepressant drugs in the treatment of refractory major depressive episodes and prevent relapses in recurrent unipolar depression. In contrast to many psychiatric drugs, lithium has outlasted various pharmacotherapeutic 'fashions', and remains an indispensable element in contemporary psychopharmacology. Nevertheless, data from pharmacogenetic studies of lithium are comparatively sparse, and these studies are generally characterized by small sample sizes and varying definitions of response. Here, we present an international effort to elucidate the genetic underpinnings of lithium response in bipolar disorder. Following an initiative by the International Group for the Study of Lithium-Treated Patients ( and the Unit on the Genetic Basis of Mood and Anxiety Disorders at the National Institute of Mental Health,lithium researchers from around the world have formed the Consortium on Lithium Genetics ( to establish the largest sample to date for genome-wide studies of lithium response in bipolar disorder, currently comprising more than 1,200 patients characterized for response to lithium treatment. A stringent phenotype definition of response is one of the hallmarks of this collaboration. ConLiGen invites all lithium researchers to join its efforts.

Genome-wide Pharmacogenetics of Antidepressant Response in the GENDEP Project

The American Journal of Psychiatry. May, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20360315

The purpose of this study was to identify genetic variants underlying the considerable individual differences in response to antidepressant treatment. The authors performed a genome-wide association analysis of improvement of depression severity with two antidepressant drugs.

Association Between a Serotonin Transporter Length Polymorphism and Primary Insomnia

Sleep. Mar, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20337192

To test the hypothesis that a 44-base-pair insertion/deletion polymorphism in the 5' regulatory region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) is associated with primary insomnia.

How the Green Alga Chlamydomonas Reinhardtii Keeps Time

Protoplasma. Aug, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20174954

The unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has two flagella and a primitive visual system, the eyespot apparatus, which allows the cell to phototax. About 40 years ago, it was shown that the circadian clock controls its phototactic movement. Since then, several circadian rhythms such as chemotaxis, cell division, UV sensitivity, adherence to glass, or starch metabolism have been characterized. The availability of its entire genome sequence along with homology studies and the analysis of several sub-proteomes render C. reinhardtii as an excellent eukaryotic model organism to study its circadian clock at different levels of organization. Previous studies point to several potential photoreceptors that may be involved in forwarding light information to entrain its clock. However, experimental data are still missing toward this end. In the past years, several components have been functionally characterized that are likely to be part of the oscillatory machinery of C. reinhardtii since alterations in their expression levels or insertional mutagenesis of the genes resulted in defects in phase, period, or amplitude of at least two independent measured rhythms. These include several RHYTHM OF CHLOROPLAST (ROC) proteins, a CONSTANS protein (CrCO) that is involved in parallel in photoperiodic control, as well as the two subunits of the circadian RNA-binding protein CHLAMY1. The latter is also tightly connected to circadian output processes. Several candidates including a significant number of ROCs, CrCO, and CASEIN KINASE1 whose alterations of expression affect the circadian clock have in parallel severe effects on the release of daughter cells, flagellar formation, and/or movement, indicating that these processes are interconnected in C. reinhardtii. The challenging task for the future will be to get insights into the clock network and to find out how the clock-related factors are functionally connected. In this respect, system biology approaches will certainly contribute in the future to improve our understanding of the C. reinhardtii clock machinery.

Genetic Research into Bipolar Disorder: the Need for a Research Framework That Integrates Sophisticated Molecular Biology and Clinically Informed Phenotype Characterization

The Psychiatric Clinics of North America. Mar, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20159340

Research into the genetic basis of bipolar disorder (BD) has reached a turning point. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS), encompassing several thousand samples, have produced replicated evidence for some novel susceptibility genes; however, the genetic variants implicated so far account for only a fraction of disease liability, a phenomenon not limited to psychiatric phenotypes but characteristic of all complex genetic traits studied to date. It appears that pure genomic approaches, such as GWAS alone, will not suffice to unravel the genetic basis of a complex illness like BD. Genomic approaches will need to be complemented by a variety of strategies, including phenomics, epigenomics, pharmacogenomics, and neurobiology, as well as the study of environmental factors. This review highlights the most promising findings from recent GWAS and candidate gene studies in BD. It furthermore sketches out a potential research framework integrating various lines of research into the molecular biological basis of BD.

Association Study of 20 Genetic Variants at the (D)-amino Acid Oxidase Gene in Schizophrenia

Psychiatric Genetics. Apr, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20145586

A Reappraisal of the Association Between Dysbindin (DTNBP1) and Schizophrenia in a Large Combined Case-control and Family-based Sample of German Ancestry

Schizophrenia Research. May, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20083391

Dysbindin (DTNBP1) is a widely studied candidate gene for schizophrenia (SCZ); however, inconsistent results across studies triggered skepticism towards the validity of the findings. In this HapMap-based study, we reappraised the association between Dysbindin and SCZ in a large sample of German ethnicity.

Meta-analysis of Genome-wide Association Data Identifies a Risk Locus for Major Mood Disorders on 3p21.1

Nature Genetics. Feb, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20081856

The major mood disorders, which include bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder (MDD), are considered heritable traits, although previous genetic association studies have had limited success in robustly identifying risk loci. We performed a meta-analysis of five case-control cohorts for major mood disorder, including over 13,600 individuals genotyped on high-density SNP arrays. We identified SNPs at 3p21.1 associated with major mood disorders (rs2251219, P = 3.63 x 10(-8); odds ratio = 0.87; 95% confidence interval, 0.83-0.92), with supportive evidence for association observed in two out of three independent replication cohorts. These results provide an example of a shared genetic susceptibility locus for bipolar disorder and MDD.

A Systematic Association Mapping on Chromosome 6q in Bipolar Affective Disorder--evidence for the Melanin-concentrating-hormone-receptor-2 Gene As a Risk Factor for Bipolar Affective Disorder

American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric Genetics : the Official Publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. Jun, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 19927306

Strong evidence of linkage between chromosomal region 6q16-q22 and bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) has previously been reported. We conducted a systematic association mapping of the 6q-linkage interval using 617 SNP markers in a BPAD case-control sample of German descent (cases = 330, controls = 325). In this screening step, 46 SNPs showed nominally significant BPAD-association (P-values between 0.0007 and 0.0484). Although none of the 46 SNPs survived correction for multiple testing, they were genotyped in a second and ethnically matched BPAD sample (cases = 328, controls = 397). At the melanin-concentrating-hormone-receptor-2 (MCHR2) gene, we found nominal association in both the initial and second BPAD samples (combined P = 0.008). This finding was followed up by the genotyping of 17 additional MCHR2-SNPs in the combined sample in order to define our findings more precisely. We found that the MCHR2-locus can be divided into three different haplotype-blocks, and observed that the MCHR2-association was most pronounced in BPAD male patients with psychotic symptoms. In two neighboring blocks, putative risk-haplotypes were found to be 7% more frequent in patients (block II: 23.3% vs. 16.2%, P = 0.005, block III: 39.2% vs. 32.0%, P = 0.024), whereas the putative protective haplotypes were found to be 5-8% less frequent in patients (block II: 11.6% vs. 16.4%, P = 0.041, block III: 30.0% vs. 38.8%, P = 0.007). The corresponding odds ratios (single-marker analysis) ranged between 1.25 and 1.46. Our findings may indicate that MCHR2 is a putative risk factor for BPAD. These findings should be interpreted with caution and replicated in independent BPAD samples.

Gene Expression of NMDA Receptor Subunits in the Cerebellum of Elderly Patients with Schizophrenia

European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience. Mar, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 19856012

To determine if NMDA receptor alterations are present in the cerebellum in schizophrenia, we measured NMDA receptor binding and gene expression of the NMDA receptor subunits in a post-mortem study of elderly patients with schizophrenia and non-affected subjects. Furthermore, we assessed influence of genetic variation in the candidate gene neuregulin-1 (NRG1) on the expression of the NMDA receptor in an exploratory study. Post-mortem samples from the cerebellar cortex of ten schizophrenic patients were compared with nine normal subjects. We investigated NMDA receptor binding by receptor autoradiography and gene expression of the NMDA receptor subunits NR1, NR2A, NR2B, NR2C and NR2D by in situ hybridization. For the genetic study, we genotyped the NRG1 polymorphism rs35753505 (SNP8NRG221533). Additionally, we treated rats with the antipsychotics haloperidol or clozapine and assessed cerebellar NMDA receptor binding and gene expression of subunits to examine the effects of antipsychotic treatment. Gene expression of the NR2D subunit was increased in the right cerebellum of schizophrenic patients compared to controls. Individuals carrying at least one C allele of rs35753505 (SNP8NRG221533) showed decreased expression of the NR2C subunit in the right cerebellum, compared to individuals homozygous for the T allele. Correlation with medication parameters and the animal model revealed no treatment effects. In conclusion, increased NR2D expression results in a hyperexcitable NMDA receptor suggesting an adaptive effect due to receptor hypofunction. The decreased NR2C expression in NRG1 risk variant may cause a deficit in NMDA receptor function. This supports the hypothesis of an abnormal glutamatergic neurotransmission in the right cerebellum in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.

Prefrontal-temporal Gray Matter Deficits in Bipolar Disorder Patients with Persecutory Delusions

Journal of Affective Disorders. Jan, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 19419772

Although brain structural deficits have been repeatedly associated with bipolar disorder (BD), inconsistency in morphometric results has been a feature of neuroimaging studies. We hypothesize that this discrepancy is related to the heterogeneity of BD, and examine the question of whether or not more homogeneous clinical subgroups display a more coherent pattern of morphometric abnormalities.

High Frequencies of De Novo CNVs in Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia

Neuron. Dec, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 22196331

While it is known that rare copy-number variants (CNVs) contribute to risk for some neuropsychiatric disorders, the role of CNVs in bipolar disorder is unclear. Here, we reasoned that a contribution of CNVs to mood disorders might be most evident for de novo mutations. We performed a genome-wide analysis of de novo CNVs in a cohort of 788 trios. Diagnoses of offspring included bipolar disorder (n = 185), schizophrenia (n = 177), and healthy controls (n = 426). Frequencies of de novo CNVs were significantly higher in bipolar disorder as compared with controls (OR = 4.8 [1.4,16.0], p = 0.009). De novo CNVs were particularly enriched among cases with an age at onset younger than 18 (OR = 6.3 [1.7,22.6], p = 0.006). We also confirmed a significant enrichment of de novo CNVs in schizophrenia (OR = 5.0 [1.5,16.8], p = 0.007). Our results suggest that rare spontaneous mutations are an important contributor to risk for bipolar disorder and other major neuropsychiatric diseases.

Genome-wide Association of Bipolar Disorder Suggests an Enrichment of Replicable Associations in Regions Near Genes

PLoS Genetics. Jun, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21738484

Although a highly heritable and disabling disease, bipolar disorder's (BD) genetic variants have been challenging to identify. We present new genotype data for 1,190 cases and 401 controls and perform a genome-wide association study including additional samples for a total of 2,191 cases and 1,434 controls. We do not detect genome-wide significant associations for individual loci; however, across all SNPs, we show an association between the power to detect effects calculated from a previous genome-wide association study and evidence for replication (P = 1.5×10(-7)). To demonstrate that this result is not likely to be a false positive, we analyze replication rates in a large meta-analysis of height and show that, in a large enough study, associations replicate as a function of power, approaching a linear relationship. Within BD, SNPs near exons exhibit a greater probability of replication, supporting an enrichment of reproducible associations near functional regions of genes. These results indicate that there is likely common genetic variation associated with BD near exons (±10 kb) that could be identified in larger studies and, further, provide a framework for assessing the potential for replication when combining results from multiple studies.

Follistatin-like 1 in Chronic Systolic Heart Failure: a Marker of Left Ventricular Remodeling

Circulation. Heart Failure. Sep, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21622850

Follistatin-like 1 (FSTL1) is an extracellular glycoprotein found in human serum. Recent work suggests that FSTL1 is secreted in response to ischemic injuries and that its overexpression is protective in the heart and vasculature.

The Complement Control-related Genes CSMD1 and CSMD2 Associate to Schizophrenia

Biological Psychiatry. Jul, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21439553

Patients with schizophrenia often suffer from cognitive dysfunction, including impaired learning and memory. We recently demonstrated that long-term potentiation in rat hippocampus, a mechanistic model of learning and memory, is linked to gene expression changes in immunity-related processes involved in complement activity and antigen presentation. We therefore aimed to examine whether key regulators of these processes are genetic susceptibility factors in schizophrenia.

Genome-wide Association Study Identifies Genetic Variation in Neurocan As a Susceptibility Factor for Bipolar Disorder

American Journal of Human Genetics. Mar, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21353194

We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and a follow-up study of bipolar disorder (BD), a common neuropsychiatric disorder. In the GWAS, we investigated 499,494 autosomal and 12,484 X-chromosomal SNPs in 682 patients with BD and in 1300 controls. In the first follow-up step, we tested the most significant 48 SNPs in 1729 patients with BD and in 2313 controls. Eight SNPs showed nominally significant association with BD and were introduced to a meta-analysis of the GWAS and the first follow-up samples. Genetic variation in the neurocan gene (NCAN) showed genome-wide significant association with BD in 2411 patients and 3613 controls (rs1064395, p = 3.02 × 10(-8); odds ratio = 1.31). In a second follow-up step, we replicated this finding in independent samples of BD, totaling 6030 patients and 31,749 controls (p = 2.74 × 10(-4); odds ratio = 1.12). The combined analysis of all study samples yielded a p value of 2.14 × 10(-9) (odds ratio = 1.17). Our results provide evidence that rs1064395 is a common risk factor for BD. NCAN encodes neurocan, an extracellular matrix glycoprotein, which is thought to be involved in cell adhesion and migration. We found that expression in mice is localized within cortical and hippocampal areas. These areas are involved in cognition and emotion regulation and have previously been implicated in BD by neuropsychological, neuroimaging, and postmortem studies.

Genome-wide Association Analysis of Age at Onset and Psychotic Symptoms in Bipolar Disorder

American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric Genetics : the Official Publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. Apr, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21305692

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several susceptibility loci for bipolar disorder (BP), most notably ANK3. However, most of the inherited risk for BP remains unexplained. One reason for the limited success may be the genetic heterogeneity of BP. Clinical sub-phenotypes of BP may identify more etiologically homogeneous subsets of patients, which can be studied with increased power to detect genetic variation. Here, we report on a mega-analysis of two widely studied sub-phenotypes of BP, age at onset and psychotic symptoms, which are familial and clinically significant. We combined data from three GWAS: NIMH Bipolar Disorder Genetic Association Information Network (GAIN-BP), NIMH Bipolar Disorder Genome Study (BiGS), and a German sample. The combined sample consisted of 2,836 BP cases with information on sub-phenotypes and 2,744 controls. Imputation was performed, resulting in 2.3 million SNPs available for analysis. No SNP reached genome-wide significance for either sub-phenotype. In addition, no SNP reached genome-wide significance in a meta-analysis with an independent replication sample. We had 80% power to detect associations with a common SNP at an OR of 1.6 for psychotic symptoms and a mean difference of 1.8 years in age at onset. Age at onset and psychotic symptoms in BP may be influenced by many genes of smaller effect sizes or other variants not measured well by SNP arrays, such as rare alleles.

Association Study of the GRIA1 and CLINT1 (Epsin 4) Genes in a German Schizophrenia Sample

Psychiatric Genetics. Apr, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21116212

High-resolution 3D Non-contrast-enhanced, ECG-gated, Multi-step MR Angiography of the Lower Extremities: Comparison with Contrast-enhanced MR Angiography

European Radiology. Feb, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 20706840

To determine the diagnostic value of non-contrast-enhanced, 3D-high-resolution, ECG-gated, multi-step MR angiography (non-ceMRA) of the lower extremities using a modified turbo-spin-echo technique in comparison to 1.0-molar contrast-enhanced MR angiography (ceMRA) in patients with suspected peripheral vascular disease (PVD).

Meta-analysis and Brain Imaging Data Support the Involvement of VRK2 (rs2312147) in Schizophrenia Susceptibility

Schizophrenia Research. Dec, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23102693

Recent genome-wide association studies have reported a set of schizophrenia susceptibility genes, but many of them await further replications in additional samples. Here we analyzed 5 genome-wide supported variants in a Han Chinese sample, and the variant rs2312147 at VRK2 showed significant association, which was confirmed in the meta-analysis combining multiple Asian and European samples (P=3.17×10(-4), N=7498). Rs2312147 is also associated with brain structure in healthy subjects, including the total brain volume and the white matter volume. Gene expression analyses indicated an up-regulation of VRK2 in schizophrenia patients. Our data provide further evidence for the contribution of VRK2 to schizophrenia.

Increased Afterload Induces Pathological Cardiac Hypertrophy: a New in Vitro Model

Basic Research in Cardiology. Nov, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23099820

Increased afterload results in 'pathological' cardiac hypertrophy, the most important risk factor for the development of heart failure. Current in vitro models fall short in deciphering the mechanisms of hypertrophy induced by afterload enhancement. The aim of this study was to develop an experimental model that allows investigating the impact of afterload enhancement (AE) on work-performing heart muscles in vitro. Fibrin-based engineered heart tissue (EHT) was cast between two hollow elastic silicone posts in a 24-well cell culture format. After 2 weeks, the posts were reinforced with metal braces, which markedly increased afterload of the spontaneously beating EHTs. Serum-free, triiodothyronine-, and hydrocortisone-supplemented medium conditions were established to prevent undefined serum effects. Control EHTs were handled identically without reinforcement. Endothelin-1 (ET-1)- or phenylephrine (PE)-stimulated EHTs served as positive control for hypertrophy. Cardiomyocytes in EHTs enlarged by 28.4 % under AE and to a similar extent by ET-1- or PE-stimulation (40.6 or 23.6 %), as determined by dystrophin staining. Cardiomyocyte hypertrophy was accompanied by activation of the fetal gene program, increased glucose consumption, and increased mRNA levels and extracellular deposition of collagen-1. Importantly, afterload-enhanced EHTs exhibited reduced contractile force and impaired diastolic relaxation directly after release of the metal braces. These deleterious effects of afterload enhancement were preventable by endothelin-A, but not endothelin-B receptor blockade. Sustained afterload enhancement of EHTs alone is sufficient to induce pathological cardiac remodeling with reduced contractile function and increased glucose consumption. The model will be useful to investigate novel therapeutic approaches in a simple and fast manner.

Evidence for Association of Bipolar Disorder to Haplotypes in the 22q12.3 Region Near the Genes Stargazin, IFT27 and Parvalbumin

American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric Genetics : the Official Publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. Dec, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23038240

We have previously reported genome-wide significant linkage of bipolar disorder to a region on 22q12.3 near the marker D22S278. Towards identifying the susceptibility gene, we have conducted a fine-mapping association study of the region in two independent family samples, an independent case-control sample and a genome-wide association dataset. Two hundred SNPs were first examined in a 5 Mb region surrounding the D22S278 marker in a sample of 169 families and analyzed using PLINK. The peak of association was a haplotype near the genes stargazin (CACNG2), intraflagellar transport protein homolog 27 (IFT27) and parvalbumin (PVALB; P = 4.69 × 10(-4)). This peak overlapped a significant haplotype in a family based association study of a second independent sample of 294 families (P = 1.42 × 10(-5)). Analysis of the combined family sample yielded statistically significant evidence of association to a rare three SNP haplotype in the gene IFT27 (P = 8.89 × 10(-6)). Twelve SNPs comprising these haplotypes were genotyped in an independent sample of 574 bipolar I cases and 550 controls. Statistically significant association was found for a haplotype window that overlapped the region from the first two family samples (P = 3.43 × 10(-4)). However, analyses of the two family samples using the program LAMP, found no evidence for association in this region, but did yield significant evidence for association to a haplotype 3' of CACNG2 (P = 1.76 × 10(-6)). Furthermore, no evidence for association was found in a large genome-wide association dataset. The replication of association to overlapping haplotypes in three independent datasets suggests the presence of a bipolar disorder susceptibility gene in this region.

Genetic Variation at the Synaptic Vesicle Gene SV2A is Associated with Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Research. Nov, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23017826

Convergent evidence from pharmacological and animal studies suggests a possible role for the synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A gene (SV2A) in schizophrenia susceptibility. To test systematically all common variants in the SV2A gene region for an association with schizophrenia, we used a HapMap-based haplotype tagging approach and tested five SNPs in 794 patients and 843 controls. The SNP rs15931 showed evidence for an association with schizophrenia and was followed-up in an independent sample of 2581 individuals (overall p-value=0.0042, OR=0.779). Our study in the German population provides evidence, at a genetic level, for the involvement of the SV2A gene region in schizophrenia.

Genome-wide Significant Association Between a 'negative Mood Delusions' Dimension in Bipolar Disorder and Genetic Variation on Chromosome 3q26.1

Translational Psychiatry. Sep, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23010768

Research suggests that clinical symptom dimensions may be more useful in delineating the genetics of bipolar disorder (BD) than standard diagnostic models. To date, no study has applied this concept to data from genome-wide association studies (GWAS). We performed a GWAS of factor dimensions in 927 clinically well-characterized BD patients of German ancestry. Rs9875793, which is located in an intergenic region of 3q26.1 and in the vicinity of the solute carrier family 2 (facilitated glucose transporter), member 2 gene (SLC2A2), was significantly associated with the factor analysis-derived dimension 'negative mood delusions' (n=927; P=4.65 × 10(-8), odds ratio (OR)=2.66). This dimension was comprised of the symptoms delusions of poverty, delusions of guilt and nihilistic delusions. In case-control analyses, significant association with the G allele of rs9875793 was only observed in the subgroup of BD patients who displayed symptoms of 'negative mood delusions' (allelic χ(2) model: P(G)=0.0001, OR=1.92; item present, n=89). Further support for the hypothesis that rs9875793 is associated with BD in patients displaying 'negative mood delusions' symptom, such as delusions of guilt, was obtained from an European American sample (GAIN/TGEN), which included 1247 BD patients and 1434 controls (P(EA)=0.028, OR=1.27).

Segment-wise Genome-wide Association Analysis Identifies a Candidate Region Associated with Schizophrenia in Three Independent Samples

PloS One. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22723893

Recent studies suggest that variation in complex disorders (e.g., schizophrenia) is explained by a large number of genetic variants with small effect size (Odds Ratio ≈ 1.05-1.1). The statistical power to detect these genetic variants in Genome Wide Association (GWA) studies with large numbers of cases and controls (v 15,000) is still low. As it will be difficult to further increase sample size, we decided to explore an alternative method for analyzing GWA data in a study of schizophrenia, dramatically reducing the number of statistical tests. The underlying hypothesis was that at least some of the genetic variants related to a common outcome are collocated in segments of chromosomes at a wider scale than single genes. Our approach was therefore to study the association between relatively large segments of DNA and disease status. An association test was performed for each SNP and the number of nominally significant tests in a segment was counted. We then performed a permutation-based binomial test to determine whether this region contained significantly more nominally significant SNPs than expected under the null hypothesis of no association, taking linkage into account. Genome Wide Association data of three independent schizophrenia case/control cohorts with European ancestry (Dutch, German, and US) using segments of DNA with variable length (2 to 32 Mbp) was analyzed. Using this approach we identified a region at chromosome 5q23.3-q31.3 (128-160 Mbp) that was significantly enriched with nominally associated SNPs in three independent case-control samples. We conclude that considering relatively wide segments of chromosomes may reveal reliable relationships between the genome and schizophrenia, suggesting novel methodological possibilities as well as raising theoretical questions.

Effects of Age on the Structure of Functional Connectivity Networks During Episodic and Working Memory Demand

Brain Connectivity. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22698449

The aim of the study was to investigate age-related differences in large-scale functional connectivity networks during episodic and working memory challenge. A graph theoretical approach was used providing an exhaustive set of topological measures to quantify age-related differences in the network structure on various scales. In a single session, 10 young (22-30 years) and 10 senior (62-77 years) subjects performed an episodic and a working memory task during functional magnetic resonance imaging. Networks of functional connectivity were constructed by correlating the blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal for every pair of voxels. Statistical network parameters yield a global characterization of the network topology, the quantification of the importance of specific regions, and shifts in local connectivity. An age-related increase in the density and size of the networks and loss of small-worldness was observed, related to an expanded distribution of brain activity during both memory demands in seniors, and a more specific and localized activity in young subjects. In addition, we found highly symmetrical neural networks in young subjects accompanied by a strong coupling between parietal and occipital regions. In contrast, seniors showed pronounced left-hemispheric asymmetry with decreased connectivity within occipital areas, but increased connectivity within parietal areas. Moreover, seniors engaged an additional frontal network strongly connected to parietal areas. In contrast to young subjects, seniors showed an almost identical structure of network connectivity during both memory tasks. The chosen network approach is explorative and hypothesis-free. Our results extend seed-based and BOLD-signal intensity focused studies, and support present hypotheses like compensation and dedifferentiation.

SCN1A Affects Brain Structure and the Neural Activity of the Aging Brain

Biological Psychiatry. Oct, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22534457

The aging of the human brain is accompanied by changes in cortical structure as well as functional activity and variable degrees of cognitive decline. One-third of the observable inter-individual differences in cognitive decline are thought to be heritable. SCN1A encodes the sodium channel α subunit and is considered to be a susceptibility gene for several neurological disorders with prominent cognitive deficits. In a recent genome-wide association study the C allele of the SCN1A variant rs10930201 was observed to be significantly associated with poor short-term memory performance. rs10930201 was further observed to be related to differences in neural activity during a working memory task.

Association Between Schizophrenia and Common Variation in Neurocan (NCAN), a Genetic Risk Factor for Bipolar Disorder

Schizophrenia Research. Jun, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22497794

A recent study found genome-wide significant association between common variation in the gene neurocan (NCAN, rs1064395) and bipolar disorder (BD). In view of accumulating evidence that BD and schizophrenia partly share genetic risk factors, we tested this single-nucleotide polymorphism for association with schizophrenia in three independent patient-control samples of European ancestry, totaling 5061 patients and 9655 controls. The rs1064395 A-allele, which confers risk for BD, was significantly over-represented in schizophrenia patients compared to controls (p=2.28×10(-3); odds ratio=1.11). Follow-up in non-overlapping samples from the Schizophrenia Psychiatric GWAS Consortium (5537 patients, 8043 controls) provided further support for our finding (p=0.0239, odds ratio=1.07). Our data suggest that genetic variation in NCAN is a common risk factor for BD and schizophrenia.

COMT Val158met Polymorphism and Neural Pain Processing

PloS One. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22247753

A functional polymorphism (val158met) of the gene coding for Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COM) has been demonstrated to be related to processing of emotional stimuli. Also, this polymorphism has been found to be associated with pain regulation in healthy subjects. Therefore, we investigated a possible influence of this polymorphism on pain processing in healthy persons as well as in subjects with markedly reduced pain sensitivity in the context of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Fifty females (25 patients with BPD and 25 healthy control participants) were included in this study. Genotype had a significant--though moderate--effect on pain sensitivity, but only in healthies. The number of val alleles was correlated with the BOLD response in several pain-processing brain regions, including dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, posterior parietal cortex, lateral globus pallidus, anterior and posterior insula. Within the subgroup of healthy participants, the number of val alleles was positively correlated with the BOLD response in posterior parietal, posterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. BPD patients revealed a positive correlation between the number of val alleles and BOLD signal in anterior and posterior insula. Thus, our data show that the val158met polymorphism in the COMT gene contributes significantly to inter-individual differences in neural pain processing: in healthy people, this polymorphism was more related to cognitive aspects of pain processing, whereas BPD patients with reduced pain sensitivity showed an association with activity in brain regions related to affective pain processing.

Genetic Relationship Between Five Psychiatric Disorders Estimated from Genome-wide SNPs

Nature Genetics. Aug, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23933821

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.

Assessment of Response to Lithium Maintenance Treatment in Bipolar Disorder: A Consortium on Lithium Genetics (ConLiGen) Report

PloS One. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23840348

The assessment of response to lithium maintenance treatment in bipolar disorder (BD) is complicated by variable length of treatment, unpredictable clinical course, and often inconsistent compliance. Prospective and retrospective methods of assessment of lithium response have been proposed in the literature. In this study we report the key phenotypic measures of the "Retrospective Criteria of Long-Term Treatment Response in Research Subjects with Bipolar Disorder" scale currently used in the Consortium on Lithium Genetics (ConLiGen) study.

Converging Evidence for Epistasis Between ANK3 and Potassium Channel Gene KCNQ2 in Bipolar Disorder

Frontiers in Genetics. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23730306

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have implicated ANK3 as a susceptibility gene for bipolar disorder (BP). We examined whether epistasis with ANK3 may contribute to the "missing heritability" in BP. We first identified via the STRING database 14 genes encoding proteins with prior biological evidence that they interact molecularly with ANK3. We then tested for statistical evidence of interactions between SNPs in these genes in association with BP in a discovery GWAS dataset and two replication GWAS datasets. The most significant interaction in the discovery GWAS was between SNPs in ANK3 and KCNQ2 (p = 3.18 × 10(-8)). A total of 31 pair-wise interactions involving combinations between two SNPs from KCNQ2 and 16 different SNPs in ANK3 were significant after permutation. Of these, 28 pair-wise interactions were significant in the first replication GWAS. None were significant in the second replication GWAS, but the two SNPs from KCNQ2 were found to significantly interact with five other SNPs in ANK3, suggesting possible allelic heterogeneity. KCNQ2 forms homo- and hetero-meric complexes with KCNQ3 that constitute voltage-gated potassium channels in neurons. ANK3 is an adaptor protein that, through its interaction with KCNQ2 and KCNQ3, directs the localization of this channel in the axon initial segment (AIS). At the AIS, the KCNQ2/3 complex gives rise to the M-current, which stabilizes the neuronal resting potential and inhibits repetitive firing of action potentials. Thus, these channels act as "dampening" components and prevent neuronal hyperactivity. The interactions between ANK3 and KCNQ2 merit further investigation, and if confirmed, may motivate a new line of research into a novel therapeutic target for BP.

Application of High-frequency Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to the DLPFC Alters Human Prefrontal-hippocampal Functional Interaction

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Apr, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23595762

Neural plasticity is crucial for understanding the experience-dependent reorganization of brain regulatory circuits and the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. An important circuit-level feature derived from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is prefrontal-hippocampal seeded connectivity during working memory, the best established intermediate connectivity phenotype of schizophrenia risk to date. The phenotype is a promising marker for the effects of plasticity-enhancing interventions, such as high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), and can be studied in healthy volunteers in the absence of illness-related confounds, but the relationship to brain plasticity is unexplored. We recruited 39 healthy volunteers to investigate the effects of 5 Hz rTMS on prefrontal-hippocampal coupling during working memory and rest. In a randomized and sham-controlled experiment, neuronavigation-guided rTMS was applied to the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and fMRI and functional connectivity analyses [seeded connectivity and psychophysiological interaction (PPI)] were used as readouts. Moreover, the test-retest reliability of working-memory related connectivity markers was evaluated. rTMS provoked a significant decrease in seeded functional connectivity of the right DLPFC and left hippocampus during working memory that proved to be relatively time-invariant and robust. PPI analyses provided evidence for a nominal effect of rTMS and poor test-retest reliability. No effects on n-back-related activation and DLPFC-hippocampus resting-state connectivity were observed. These data provide the first in vivo evidence for the effects of plasticity induction on human prefrontal-hippocampal network dynamics, offer insights into the biological mechanisms of a well established intermediate phenotype linked to schizophrenia, and underscores the importance of the choice of outcome measures in test-retest designs.

The "DGPPN-Cohort": a National Collaboration Initiative by the German Association for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (DGPPN) for Establishing a Large-scale Cohort of Psychiatric Patients

European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience. Apr, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23545941

The German Association for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (DGPPN) has committed itself to establish a prospective national cohort of patients with major psychiatric disorders, the so-called DGPPN-Cohort. This project will enable the scientific exploitation of high-quality data and biomaterial from psychiatric patients for research. It will be set up using harmonised data sets and procedures for sample generation and guided by transparent rules for data access and data sharing regarding the central research database. While the main focus lies on biological research, it will be open to all kinds of scientific investigations, including epidemiological, clinical or health-service research.

Amish Revisited: Next-generation Sequencing Studies of Psychiatric Disorders Among the Plain People

Trends in Genetics : TIG. Jul, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23422049

The rapid development of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology has led to renewed interest in the potential contribution of rarer forms of genetic variation to complex non-mendelian phenotypes such as psychiatric illnesses. Although challenging, family-based studies offer some advantages, especially in communities with large families and a limited number of founders. Here we revisit family-based studies of mental illnesses in traditional Amish and Mennonite communities--known collectively as the Plain people. We discuss the new opportunities for NGS in these populations, with particular emphasis on investigating psychiatric disorders. We also address some of the challenges facing NGS-based studies of complex phenotypes in founder populations.

No Evidence for an Involvement of Copy Number Variation in ABCA13 in Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, or Major Depressive Disorder

Psychiatric Genetics. Feb, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23250005

The Heme-binding Protein SOUL3 of Chlamydomonas Reinhardtii Influences Size and Position of the Eyespot

Molecular Plant. May, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23180671

The flagellated green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has a primitive visual system, the eyespot. It is situated at the cells equator and allows the cell to phototax. In a previous proteomic analysis of the eyespot, the SOUL3 protein was identified among 202 proteins. Here, we investigate the properties and functions of SOUL3. Heterologously expressed SOUL3 is able to bind specifically to hemin. In C. reinhardtii, SOUL3 is expressed at a constant level over the diurnal cycle, but forms protein complexes that differ in size during day and night phases. SOUL3 is primarily localized in the eyespot and it is situated in the pigment globule layer thereof. This is in contrast to the channelrhodopsin photoreceptors, which are localized in the plasma membrane region of the eyespot. Knockdown lines with a significantly reduced SOUL3 level are characterized by mislocalized eyespots, a decreased eyespot size, and alterations in phototactic behavior. Mislocalizations were either anterior or posterior and did not affect association with acetylated microtubules of the daughter four-membered rootlet. Our data suggest that SOUL3 is involved in the organization and placement of the eyespot within the cell.

Neuregulin 3 is Associated with Attention Deficits in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. Apr, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 22831755

Linkage and fine mapping studies have established that the neuregulin 3 gene (NRG3) is a susceptibility locus for schizophrenia. Association studies of this disorder have implicated NRG3 variants in both psychotic symptoms and attention performance. Psychotic symptoms and cognitive deficits are also frequent features of bipolar disorder. The aims of the present study were to extend analysis of the association between NRG3 and psychotic symptoms and attention in schizophrenia and to determine whether these associations also apply to bipolar disorder. A total of 358 patients with schizophrenia and 111 patients with bipolar disorder were included. Psychotic symptoms were evaluated using the Operational Criteria Checklist for Psychotic Illness (OPCRIT) and attention performance was assessed using the Trail Making Test (TMT). Symptoms and performance scores were then tested for association with the NRG3 variant rs6584400. A significant association was found between the number of rs6584400 minor alleles and the total OPCRIT score for psychotic symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. Moreover, in both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder patients, minor allele carriers of rs6584400 outperformed homozygous major allele carriers in the TMT. The results suggest that rs6584400 is associated with psychotic symptoms and attention performance in schizophrenia. The finding of a significant association between rs6584400 and attention performance in bipolar disorder supports the hypothesis that this NRG3 variant confers genetic susceptibility to cognitive deficits in both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

A Mega-analysis of Genome-wide Association Studies for Major Depressive Disorder

Molecular Psychiatry. Apr, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 22472876

Prior genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of major depressive disorder (MDD) have met with limited success. We sought to increase statistical power to detect disease loci by conducting a GWAS mega-analysis for MDD. In the MDD discovery phase, we analyzed more than 1.2 million autosomal and X chromosome single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 18 759 independent and unrelated subjects of recent European ancestry (9240 MDD cases and 9519 controls). In the MDD replication phase, we evaluated 554 SNPs in independent samples (6783 MDD cases and 50 695 controls). We also conducted a cross-disorder meta-analysis using 819 autosomal SNPs with P<0.0001 for either MDD or the Psychiatric GWAS Consortium bipolar disorder (BIP) mega-analysis (9238 MDD cases/8039 controls and 6998 BIP cases/7775 controls). No SNPs achieved genome-wide significance in the MDD discovery phase, the MDD replication phase or in pre-planned secondary analyses (by sex, recurrent MDD, recurrent early-onset MDD, age of onset, pre-pubertal onset MDD or typical-like MDD from a latent class analyses of the MDD criteria). In the MDD-bipolar cross-disorder analysis, 15 SNPs exceeded genome-wide significance (P<5 × 10(-8)), and all were in a 248 kb interval of high LD on 3p21.1 (chr3:52 425 083-53 822 102, minimum P=5.9 × 10(-9) at rs2535629). Although this is the largest genome-wide analysis of MDD yet conducted, its high prevalence means that the sample is still underpowered to detect genetic effects typical for complex traits. Therefore, we were unable to identify robust and replicable findings. We discuss what this means for genetic research for MDD. The 3p21.1 MDD-BIP finding should be interpreted with caution as the most significant SNP did not replicate in MDD samples, and genotyping in independent samples will be needed to resolve its status.

Gene Expression of Glutamate Transporters SLC1A1, SLC1A3 and SLC1A6 in the Cerebellar Subregions of Elderly Schizophrenia Patients and Effects of Antipsychotic Treatment

The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry : the Official Journal of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry. Sep, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 22424243

The glutamatergic hypothesis of schizophrenia proposes alterations of excitatory amino acid transporters (solute carrier family, SLCs) expression and cerebellar dysfunctions. The influence of the neuregulin-1 (NRG1) risk genotype or effects of antipsychotics on expression of EAATs are unknown.

Neurocognitive Correlates of the Course of Bipolar Disorder

Harvard Review of Psychiatry. Nov-Dec, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25377607

Significant cognitive dysfunction has been recognized as an important state and trait feature of bipolar disorder. In this article, longitudinal studies comparing cognitive performance in bipolar disorder patients and healthy controls are reviewed. In contrast to cross-sectional reports, current longitudinal research findings do not support a progressive cognitive decline over time. However, a higher within-person instability in cognitive performance was found relative to controls. The need for larger samples remains, as well as for longer and more frequent observations.

Effects of Proarrhythmic Drugs on Relaxation Time and Beating Pattern in Rat Engineered Heart Tissue

Basic Research in Cardiology. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25209140

The assessment of proarrhythmic risks of drugs remains challenging. To evaluate the suitability of rat engineered heart tissue (EHT) for detecting proarrhythmic effects. We monitored drug effects on spontaneous contractile activity and, in selected cases, on action potentials (sharp microelectrode) and Ca2+ transients (Fura-2) and contraction under electrical pacing. The Ito-blocker inhibitor 4-aminopyridine increased action potential duration and T2 and caused aftercontractions, which were abolished by inhibitors of ryanodine receptors (RyR2; JTV-519) or sodium calcium exchanger (NCX; SEA0400). 77 Drugs were then tested at 1-10-100× free therapeutic plasma concentrations (FTPC): Inhibitors of IKr, IKs, Ito, antiarrhythmics (8), drugs withdrawn from market for torsades des pointes arrhythmias (TdP, 5), drugs with measurable (7) or isolated TdP incidence (13), drugs considered safe (14), 28 new chemical entities (NCE). Inhibitors of IKr or IKs had no effect alone, but substantially prolonged relaxation time (T2) when combined at high concentration. 15/33 drugs associated with TdP and 6/14 drugs considered non-torsadogenic (cibenzoline, diltiazem, ebastine, ketoconazole, moxifloxacin, and phenytoin) induced concentration-dependent T2 prolongations (10-100× FTPC). Bepridil, desipramine, imipramine, thioridazine, and erythromycin induced irregular beating. Three NCE prolonged T2, one reduced force. Drugs inhibiting repolarization prolong relaxation in rat EHTs and cause aftercontractions involving RyR2 and NCX. Insensitivity to IKr inhibitors makes rat EHTs unsuitable as general proarrhythmia screen, but favors detection of effects on Ito, IKs + Ito or IKs + IKr. Screening a large panel of drugs suggests that effects on these currents, in addition to IKr, are more common than anticipated.

Smoking Behaviour: Investigation of the Coaction of Environmental and Genetic Risk Factors

Psychiatric Genetics. Dec, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25144209

Common and Rare Variant Analysis in Early-onset Bipolar Disorder Vulnerability

PloS One. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25111785

Bipolar disorder is one of the most common and devastating psychiatric disorders whose mechanisms remain largely unknown. Despite a strong genetic contribution demonstrated by twin and adoption studies, a polygenic background influences this multifactorial and heterogeneous psychiatric disorder. To identify susceptibility genes on a severe and more familial sub-form of the disease, we conducted a genome-wide association study focused on 211 patients of French origin with an early age at onset and 1,719 controls, and then replicated our data on a German sample of 159 patients with early-onset bipolar disorder and 998 controls. Replication study and subsequent meta-analysis revealed two genes encoding proteins involved in phosphoinositide signalling pathway (PLEKHA5 and PLCXD3). We performed additional replication studies in two datasets from the WTCCC (764 patients and 2,938 controls) and the GAIN-TGen cohorts (1,524 patients and 1,436 controls) and found nominal P-values both in the PLCXD3 and PLEKHA5 loci with the WTCCC sample. In addition, we identified in the French cohort one affected individual with a deletion at the PLCXD3 locus and another one carrying a missense variation in PLCXD3 (p.R93H), both supporting a role of the phosphatidylinositol pathway in early-onset bipolar disorder vulnerability. Although the current nominally significant findings should be interpreted with caution and need replication in independent cohorts, this study supports the strategy to combine genetic approaches to determine the molecular mechanisms underlying bipolar disorder.

How to Design Biospecimen Identifiers and Integrate Relevant Functionalities into Your Biospecimen Management System

Biopreservation and Biobanking. Jun, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24955734

Effective tracking of biospecimens within a biobank requires that each biospecimen has a unique identifier (ID). This ID can be found on the sample container as well as in the biospecimen management system. In the latter, the biospecimen ID is the key to annotation data such as location, quality, and sample processing. Guidelines such as the Best Practices from the International Society of Biological and Environmental Repositories only state that a unique identifier should be issued for each sample. However, to our knowledge, all guidelines lack a specific description of how to actually generate such an ID and how this can be supported by an IT system. Here, we provide a guide for biobankers on how to generate a biospecimen ID for your biobank. We also provide an example of how to apply this guide using a longitudinal multi-center research project (and its biobank). Starting with a description of the biobank's purpose and workflows through to collecting requirements from stakeholders and relevant documents (i.e., guidelines or data protection concepts), and existing IT-systems, we describe in detail how a concept to develop an ID system can be developed from this information. The concept contains two parts: one is the generation of the biospecimen ID according to the requirements of stakeholders, existing documentation such as guidelines or data protection concepts, and existing IT-infrastructures, and the second is the implementation of the biospecimen IDs and related functionalities covering the handling of individual biospecimens within an existing biospecimen management system. From describing the concept, the article moves on to how the new concept supports both existing or planned biobank workflows. Finally, the implementation and validation step is outlined to the reader and practical hints are provided for each step.

Integrated Pathway-based Approach Identifies Association Between Genomic Regions at CTCF and CACNB2 and Schizophrenia

PLoS Genetics. Jun, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24901509

In the present study, an integrated hierarchical approach was applied to: (1) identify pathways associated with susceptibility to schizophrenia; (2) detect genes that may be potentially affected in these pathways since they contain an associated polymorphism; and (3) annotate the functional consequences of such single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the affected genes or their regulatory regions. The Global Test was applied to detect schizophrenia-associated pathways using discovery and replication datasets comprising 5,040 and 5,082 individuals of European ancestry, respectively. Information concerning functional gene-sets was retrieved from the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes, Gene Ontology, and the Molecular Signatures Database. Fourteen of the gene-sets or pathways identified in the discovery dataset were confirmed in the replication dataset. These include functional processes involved in transcriptional regulation and gene expression, synapse organization, cell adhesion, and apoptosis. For two genes, i.e. CTCF and CACNB2, evidence for association with schizophrenia was available (at the gene-level) in both the discovery study and published data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium schizophrenia study. Furthermore, these genes mapped to four of the 14 presently identified pathways. Several of the SNPs assigned to CTCF and CACNB2 have potential functional consequences, and a gene in close proximity to CACNB2, i.e. ARL5B, was identified as a potential gene of interest. Application of the present hierarchical approach thus allowed: (1) identification of novel biological gene-sets or pathways with potential involvement in the etiology of schizophrenia, as well as replication of these findings in an independent cohort; (2) detection of genes of interest for future follow-up studies; and (3) the highlighting of novel genes in previously reported candidate regions for schizophrenia.

Guanabenz Interferes with ER Stress and Exerts Protective Effects in Cardiac Myocytes

PloS One. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24892553

Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress has been implicated in a variety of cardiovascular diseases. During ER stress, disruption of the complex of protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit 15A and catalytic subunit of protein phosphatase 1 by the small molecule guanabenz (antihypertensive, α2-adrenoceptor agonist) and subsequent inhibition of stress-induced dephosphorylation of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2α (eIF2α) results in prolonged eIF2α phosphorylation, inhibition of protein synthesis and protection from ER stress. In this study we assessed whether guanabenz protects against ER stress in cardiac myocytes and affects the function of 3 dimensional engineered heart tissue (EHT). We utilized neonatal rat cardiac myocytes for the assessment of cell viability and activation of ER stress-signalling pathways and EHT for functional analysis. (i) Tunicamycin induced ER stress as measured by increased mRNA and protein levels of glucose-regulated protein 78 kDa, P-eIF2α, activating transcription factor 4, C/EBP homologous protein, and cell death. (ii) Guanabenz had no measurable effect alone, but antagonized the effects of tunicamycin on ER stress markers. (iii) Tunicamycin and other known inducers of ER stress (hydrogen peroxide, doxorubicin, thapsigargin) induced cardiac myocyte death, and this was antagonized by guanabenz in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. (iv) ER stressors also induced acute or delayed contractile dysfunction in spontaneously beating EHTs and this was, with the notable exception of relaxation deficits under thapsigargin, not significantly affected by guanabenz. The data confirm that guanabenz interferes with ER stress-signalling and has protective effects on cell survival. Data show for the first time that this concept extends to cardiac myocytes. The modest protection in EHTs points to more complex mechanisms of force regulation in intact functional heart muscle.

Need Exists for Genetic Predictors of Lithium Response

Evidence-based Mental Health. Aug, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24841873

Variant GADL1 and Response to Lithium in Bipolar I Disorder

The New England Journal of Medicine. May, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24806176

Genome-wide Association Study Reveals Two New Risk Loci for Bipolar Disorder

Nature Communications. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24618891

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a common and highly heritable mental illness and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have robustly identified the first common genetic variants involved in disease aetiology. The data also provide strong evidence for the presence of multiple additional risk loci, each contributing a relatively small effect to BD susceptibility. Large samples are necessary to detect these risk loci. Here we present results from the largest BD GWAS to date by investigating 2.3 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a sample of 24,025 patients and controls. We detect 56 genome-wide significant SNPs in five chromosomal regions including previously reported risk loci ANK3, ODZ4 and TRANK1, as well as the risk locus ADCY2 (5p15.31) and a region between MIR2113 and POU3F2 (6q16.1). ADCY2 is a key enzyme in cAMP signalling and our finding provides new insights into the biological mechanisms involved in the development of BD.

Molecular Actions and Clinical Pharmacogenetics of Lithium Therapy

Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior. Aug, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24534415

Mood disorders, including bipolar disorder and depression, are relatively common human diseases for which pharmacological treatment options are often not optimal. Among existing pharmacological agents and mood stabilizers used for the treatment of mood disorders, lithium has a unique clinical profile. Lithium has efficacy in the treatment of bipolar disorder generally, and in particular mania, while also being useful in the adjunct treatment of refractory depression. In addition to antimanic and adjunct antidepressant efficacy, lithium is also proven effective in the reduction of suicide and suicidal behaviors. However, only a subset of patients manifests beneficial responses to lithium therapy and the underlying genetic factors of response are not exactly known. Here we discuss preclinical research suggesting mechanisms likely to underlie lithium's therapeutic actions including direct targets inositol monophosphatase and glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) among others, as well as indirect actions including modulation of neurotrophic and neurotransmitter systems and circadian function. We follow with a discussion of current knowledge related to the pharmacogenetic underpinnings of effective lithium therapy in patients within this context. Progress in elucidation of genetic factors that may be involved in human response to lithium pharmacology has been slow, and there is still limited conclusive evidence for the role of a particular genetic factor. However, the development of new approaches such as genome-wide association studies (GWAS), and increased use of genetic testing and improved identification of mood disorder patients sub-groups will lead to improved elucidation of relevant genetic factors in the future.

Effects of Normal Aging and SCN1A Risk-gene Expression on Brain Metabolites: Evidence for an Association Between SCN1A and Myo-inositol

NMR in Biomedicine. Feb, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24357141

Previously reported MRS findings in the aging brain include lower N-acetylaspartate (NAA) and higher myo-inositol (mI), total creatine (Cr) and choline-containing compound (Cho) concentrations. Alterations in the sodium channel voltage gated type I, alpha subunit SCN1A variant rs10930201 have been reported to be associated with several neurological disorders with cognitive deficits. MRS studies in SCN1A-related diseases have reported striking differences in the mI concentrations between patients and controls. In a study on 'healthy aging', we investigated metabolite spectra in a sample of 83 healthy volunteers and determined their age dependence. We also investigated a potential link between SCN1A and mI. We observed a significantly negative association of NAA (p = 0.004) and significantly positive associations of mI (p ≤ 0.001), Cr (p ≤ 0.001) and Cho (p = 0.034) with age in frontal white matter. The linear association of Cho ends at the age of about 50 years and is followed by an inverted 'U'-shaped curve. Further, mI was higher in C allele carriers of the SCN1A variant rs10930201. Our results corroborated the age-related changes in metabolite concentrations, and found evidence for a link between SCN1A and frontal white matter mI in healthy subjects.

In Vitro Perfusion of Engineered Heart Tissue Through Endothelialized Channels

Tissue Engineering. Part A. Feb, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24156346

In engineered heart tissues (EHT), oxygen and nutrient supply via mere diffusion is a likely factor limiting the thickness of cardiac muscle strands. Here, we report on a novel method to in vitro perfuse EHT through tubular channels. Adapting our previously published protocols, we expanded a miniaturized fibrin-based EHT-format to a larger six-well format with six flexible silicone posts holding each EHT (15×25×3 mm³). Thin dry alginate fibers (17×0.04×0.04 mm) were embedded into the cell-fibrin-thrombin mix and, after fibrin polymerization, dissolved by incubation in alginate lyase or sodium citrate. Oxygen concentrations were measured with a microsensor in 14-day-old EHTs (37°C, 21% oxygen) and ranged between 9% at the edges and 2% in the center of the tissue. Perfusion rapidly increased it to 10%-12% in the immediate vicinity of the microchannel. Continuous perfusion (20 μL/h, for 3 weeks) of the tubular lumina (100-500 μm) via hollow posts of the silicone rack increased mean dystrophin-positive cardiomyocyte density (36%±6% vs. 10%±3% of total cell number) and cross sectional area (73±2 vs. 48±1 μm²) in the central part of the tissue compared to nonperfused EHTs. The channels were populated by endothelial cells present in the reconstitution cell mix. In conclusion, we developed a novel approach to generate small tubular structures suitable for perfusion of spontaneously contracting and force-generating EHTs and showed that prolonged perfusion improved cardiac tissue structure.

Does Body Shaping Influence Brain Shape? Habitual Physical Activity is Linked to Brain Morphology Independent of Age

The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry : the Official Journal of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry. Jul, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 23800199

Physical activity (PA) was found to influence human brain morphology. However, the impact of PA on brain morphology was mainly demonstrated in seniors. We investigated healthy individuals across a broad age range for the relation between habitual PA and brain morphology.

Induction and Quantification of Prefrontal Cortical Network Plasticity Using 5 Hz RTMS and FMRI

Human Brain Mapping. Jan, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 22965696

Neuronal plasticity is crucial for flexible interaction with a changing environment and its disruption is thought to contribute to psychiatric diseases like schizophrenia. High-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a noninvasive tool to increase local excitability of neurons and induce short-time functional reorganization of cortical networks. While this has been shown for the motor system, little is known about the short-term plasticity of networks for executive cognition in humans. We examined 12 healthy control subjects in a crossover study with fMRI after real and sham 5 Hz rTMS to the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). During scanning, subjects performed an n-back working memory (WM) task and a flanker task engaging cognitive control. Reaction times during the n-back task were significantly shorter after rTMS than after sham stimulation. RTMS compared with sham stimulation caused no activation changes at the stimulation site (right DLPFC) itself, but significantly increased connectivity within the WM network during n-back and reduced activation in the anterior cingulate cortex during the flanker task. Reduced reaction times after real stimulation support an excitatory effect of high-frequency rTMS. Our findings identified plastic changes in prefrontally connected networks downstream of the stimulation site as the substrate of this behavioral effect. Using a multimodal fMRI-rTMS approach, we could demonstrate changes in cortical plasticity in humans during executive cognition. In further studies this approach could be used to study pharmacological, genetic and disease-related alterations.

Molecular Genetic Overlap in Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and Major Depressive Disorder

The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry : the Official Journal of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry. Apr, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 22404658

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in complex phenotypes, including psychiatric disorders, have yielded many replicated findings, yet individual markers account for only a small fraction of the inherited differences in risk. We tested the performance of polygenic models in discriminating between cases and healthy controls and among cases with distinct psychiatric diagnoses.

A Common Risk Variant in CACNA1C Supports a Sex-dependent Effect on Longitudinal Functioning and Functional Recovery from Episodes of Schizophrenia-spectrum but Not Bipolar Disorder

European Neuropsychopharmacology : the Journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Dec, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26475575

Sex is a powerful modulator of disease susceptibility, course and outcome. The gene CACNA1C is among the best replicated vulnerability genes of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether sex and a variant in CACNA1C (rs10774035 as a proxy for the well-acknowledged risk variant rs1006737) influence psychosocial adaptation in a large German patient sample with schizophrenia-spectrum (n=297) and bipolar (n=516) disorders. We analyzed Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scores, retrospectively collected for different time points during disease course. We investigated whether CACNA1C sex-dependently modulates longitudinal GAF scores and recovery from episodes of psychiatric disturbance in the above mentioned disorders. Psychosocial recovery was measured as difference score between the current GAF score (assessing the last remission) and the worst GAF score ever during an illness episode. Covariate- adjusted association analyses revealed a sex × rs10774035 genotype interaction on longitudinal GAF and recovery from illness episodes only in schizophrenia-spectrum but not in bipolar disorders. In schizophrenia-spectrum affected males, rs10774035 minor allele (T) carriers had higher GAF scores at three time points (premorbid, worst ever, current). In contrast, females carrying rs10774035 minor alleles had impaired recovery from schizophrenia-spectrum episodes. These results encourage further investigations of gene × sex interactions and longitudinal quantitative phenotypes to unravel the rich variety of behavioral consequences of genetic individuality.

New Data and an Old Puzzle: the Negative Association Between Schizophrenia and Rheumatoid Arthritis

International Journal of Epidemiology. Oct, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26286434

A long-standing epidemiological puzzle is the reduced rate of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in those with schizophrenia (SZ) and vice versa. Traditional epidemiological approaches to determine if this negative association is underpinned by genetic factors would test for reduced rates of one disorder in relatives of the other, but sufficiently powered data sets are difficult to achieve. The genomics era presents an alternative paradigm for investigating the genetic relationship between two uncommon disorders.

Effects of Endurance Training Combined With Cognitive Remediation on Everyday Functioning, Symptoms, and Cognition in Multiepisode Schizophrenia Patients

Schizophrenia Bulletin. Jul, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25782770

Aerobic exercise has been shown to improve symptoms in multiepisode schizophrenia, including cognitive impairments, but results are inconsistent. Therefore, we evaluated the effects of an enriched environment paradigm consisting of bicycle ergometer training and add-on computer-assisted cognitive remediation (CACR) training. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate such an enriched environment paradigm in multiepisode schizophrenia. Twenty-two multiepisode schizophrenia patients and 22 age- and gender-matched healthy controls underwent 3 months of endurance training (30min, 3 times/wk); CACR training (30min, 2 times/wk) was added from week 6. Twenty-one additionally recruited schizophrenia patients played table soccer (known as "foosball" in the United States) over the same period and also received the same CACR training. At baseline and after 6 weeks and 3 months, we measured the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF), Social Adjustment Scale-II (SAS-II), schizophrenia symptoms (Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale), and cognitive domains (Verbal Learning Memory Test [VLMT], Wisconsin Card Sorting Test [WCST], and Trail Making Test). After 3 months, we observed a significant improvement in GAF and in SAS-II social/leisure activities and household functioning adaptation in the endurance training augmented with cognitive remediation, but not in the table soccer augmented with cognitive remediation group. The severity of negative symptoms and performance in the VLMT and WCST improved significantly in the schizophrenia endurance training augmented with cognitive remediation group from week 6 to the end of the 3-month training period. Future studies should investigate longer intervention periods to show whether endurance training induces stable improvements in everyday functioning.

Functional Outcome in Major Psychiatric Disorders and Associated Clinical and Psychosocial Variables: A Potential Cross-diagnostic Phenotype for Further Genetic Investigations?

The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry : the Official Journal of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry. Jun, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25771936

Functional outcome has recently become of interest for cross-diagnostic subphenotype approaches in psychiatric genetics. Therefore, it is crucial to know about clinical, demographic and psychosocial variables that correlate with long-term functioning. Unfortunately, there is a lack of studies that directly compare the importance of correlates for functional outcome between different disorders.

Systematic Integration of Brain EQTL and GWAS Identifies ZNF323 As a Novel Schizophrenia Risk Gene and Suggests Recent Positive Selection Based on Compensatory Advantage on Pulmonary Function

Schizophrenia Bulletin. Nov, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25759474

Genome-wide association studies have identified multiple risk variants and loci that show robust association with schizophrenia. Nevertheless, it remains unclear how these variants confer risk to schizophrenia. In addition, the driving force that maintains the schizophrenia risk variants in human gene pool is poorly understood. To investigate whether expression-associated genetic variants contribute to schizophrenia susceptibility, we systematically integrated brain expression quantitative trait loci and genome-wide association data of schizophrenia using Sherlock, a Bayesian statistical framework. Our analyses identified ZNF323 as a schizophrenia risk gene (P = 2.22×10(-6)). Subsequent analyses confirmed the association of the ZNF323 and its expression-associated single nucleotide polymorphism rs1150711 in independent samples (gene-expression: P = 1.40×10(-6); single-marker meta-analysis in the combined discovery and replication sample comprising 44123 individuals: P = 6.85×10(-10)). We found that the ZNF323 was significantly downregulated in hippocampus and frontal cortex of schizophrenia patients (P = .0038 and P = .0233, respectively). Evidence for pleiotropic effects was detected (association of rs1150711 with lung function and gene expression of ZNF323 in lung: P = 6.62×10(-5) and P = 9.00×10(-5), respectively) with the risk allele (T allele) for schizophrenia acting as protective allele for lung function. Subsequent population genetics analyses suggest that the risk allele (T) of rs1150711 might have undergone recent positive selection in human population. Our findings suggest that the ZNF323 is a schizophrenia susceptibility gene whose expression may influence schizophrenia risk. Our study also illustrates a possible mechanism for maintaining schizophrenia risk variants in the human gene pool.

Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 Differentially Affects Lithium Sensitivity of Lymphoblastoid Cell Lines from Lithium Responder and Non-responder Bipolar Disorder Patients

Journal of Molecular Neuroscience : MN. Jul, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25740013

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic psychiatric illness with an unknown etiology. Lithium is considered the cornerstone in the management of BD, though about 50-60 % of patients do not respond sufficiently to chronic treatment. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) has been identified as a candidate gene for BD susceptibility, and its low expression has been suggested as a putative biomarker for lithium unresponsiveness. In this study, we examined the in vitro effects of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) on lithium sensitivity in lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) from lithium responder (R) and non-responder (NR) bipolar patients. Moreover, we evaluated levels of microRNA let-7c, a small RNA predicted to target IGF1. We found that exogenous IGF-1 added to serum-free media increased lithium sensitivity selectively in LCLs from NR BD patients. However, no significant differences were observed when comparing let-7c expression in LCLs from R vs. NR BD patients. Our data support a key role for IGF-1 in lithium resistance/response in the treatment of bipolar disorder.

Test-retest Reliability of a New Questionnaire for the Retrospective Assessment of Long-term Lithium Use in Bipolar Disorder

Journal of Affective Disorders. Mar, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25562671

The identification of predictors of treatment response holds tremendous potential for the improvement of clinical outcomes in bipolar disorder (BP). The goal of this project is to evaluate the test-retest reliability of a new clinical tool, the Lithium Questionnaire (LQ), for the retrospective assessment of long-term lithium use in research participants with BP.

Genome-wide Regional Heritability Mapping Identifies a Locus Within the TOX2 Gene Associated With Major Depressive Disorder

Biological Psychiatry. Dec, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 28153336

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is the second largest cause of global disease burden. It has an estimated heritability of 37%, but published genome-wide association studies have so far identified few risk loci. Haplotype-block-based regional heritability mapping (HRHM) estimates the localized genetic variance explained by common variants within haplotype blocks, integrating the effects of multiple variants, and may be more powerful for identifying MDD-associated genomic regions.

An Analysis of Two Genome-wide Association Meta-analyses Identifies a New Locus for Broad Depression Phenotype

Biological Psychiatry. Dec, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 28049566

The genetics of depression has been explored in genome-wide association studies that focused on either major depressive disorder or depressive symptoms with mostly negative findings. A broad depression phenotype including both phenotypes has not been tested previously using a genome-wide association approach. We aimed to identify genetic polymorphisms significantly associated with a broad phenotype from depressive symptoms to major depressive disorder.

Aims and Structure of the German Research Consortium BipoLife for the Study of Bipolar Disorder

International Journal of Bipolar Disorders. Dec, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27873290

Bipolar disorder is a severe and heterogeneous mental disorder. Despite great advances in neuroscience over the past decades, the precise causative mechanisms at the transmitter, cellular or network level have so far not been unraveled. As a result, individual treatment decisions cannot be tailor-made and the uncertain prognosis is based on clinical characteristics alone. Although a subpopulation of patients have an excellent response to pharmacological monotherapy, other subpopulations have been less well served by the medical system and therefore require more focused attention. In particular individuals at high risk of bipolar disorder, young patients in the early stages of bipolar disorder, patients with an unstable highly relapsing course and patients with acute suicidal ideation have been identified as those in need.

Psychopathological Course Typology in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders: A Heuristic Approach in a Sample of 100 Patients

Psychopathology. 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27825156

Despite several previous attempts at subtyping schizophrenia, a typology that reflects neurobiological knowledge and reliably predicts course and outcome is lacking. We applied the system-specific concept of the Bern Psychopathology Scale (BPS) to generate a course typology based on three domains: language, affectivity, and motor behaviour.

No Reliable Association Between Runs of Homozygosity and Schizophrenia in a Well-Powered Replication Study

PLoS Genetics. Oct, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27792727

It is well known that inbreeding increases the risk of recessive monogenic diseases, but it is less certain whether it contributes to the etiology of complex diseases such as schizophrenia. One way to estimate the effects of inbreeding is to examine the association between disease diagnosis and genome-wide autozygosity estimated using runs of homozygosity (ROH) in genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism arrays. Using data for schizophrenia from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (n = 21,868), Keller et al. (2012) estimated that the odds of developing schizophrenia increased by approximately 17% for every additional percent of the genome that is autozygous (β = 16.1, CI(β) = [6.93, 25.7], Z = 3.44, p = 0.0006). Here we describe replication results from 22 independent schizophrenia case-control datasets from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (n = 39,830). Using the same ROH calling thresholds and procedures as Keller et al. (2012), we were unable to replicate the significant association between ROH burden and schizophrenia in the independent PGC phase II data, although the effect was in the predicted direction, and the combined (original + replication) dataset yielded an attenuated but significant relationship between Froh and schizophrenia (β = 4.86,CI(β) = [0.90,8.83],Z = 2.40,p = 0.02). Since Keller et al. (2012), several studies reported inconsistent association of ROH burden with complex traits, particularly in case-control data. These conflicting results might suggest that the effects of autozygosity are confounded by various factors, such as socioeconomic status, education, urbanicity, and religiosity, which may be associated with both real inbreeding and the outcome measures of interest.

Symptom Profiles and Illness Course Among Anabaptist and Non-Anabaptist Adults with Major Mood Disorders

International Journal of Bipolar Disorders. Dec, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27734417

Anabaptists comprise large and growing Amish and Mennonite populations with a unique genetic heritage and cultural background. Little is known about the symptoms and course of major mood disorders in Anabaptists. Even less is known about the impact of potential moderators on symptom severity and course.

De Novo Assembly and Analysis of the Chilean Pencil Catfish Trichomycterus Areolatus Transcriptome

Journal of Genomics. 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27672404

Trichomycterus areolatus is an endemic species of pencil catfish that inhabits the riffles and rapids of many freshwater ecosystems of Chile. Despite its unique adaptation to Chile's high gradient watersheds and therefore potential application in the investigation of ecosystem integrity and environmental contamination, relatively little is known regarding the molecular biology of this environmental sentinel. Here, we detail the assembly of the Trichomycterus areolatus transcriptome, a molecular resource for the study of this organism and its molecular response to the environment. RNA-Seq reads were obtained by next-generation sequencing with an Illumina® platform and processed using PRINSEQ. The transcriptome assembly was performed using TRINITY assembler. Transcriptome validation was performed by functional characterization with KOG, KEGG, and GO analyses. Additionally, differential expression analysis highlights sex-specific expression patterns, and a list of endocrine and oxidative stress related transcripts are included.

Identification of a Bipolar Disorder Vulnerable Gene CHDH at 3p21.1

Molecular Neurobiology. Aug, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27562178

Genome-wide analysis (GWA) is an effective strategy to discover extreme effects surpassing genome-wide significant levels in studying complex disorders; however, when sample size is limited, the true effects may fail to achieve genome-wide significance. In such case, there may be authentic results among the pools of nominal candidates, and an alternative approach is to consider nominal candidates but are replicable across different samples. Here, we found that mRNA expression of the choline dehydrogenase gene (CHDH) was uniformly upregulated in the brains of bipolar disorder (BPD) patients compared with healthy controls across different studies. Follow-up genetic analyses of CHDH variants in multiple independent clinical datasets (including 11,564 cases and 17,686 controls) identified a risk SNP rs9836592 showing consistent associations with BPD (P meta = 5.72 × 10(-4)), and the risk allele indicated an increased CHDH expression in multiple neuronal tissues (lowest P = 6.70 × 10(-16)). These converging results may identify a nominal but true BPD susceptibility gene CHDH. Further exploratory analysis revealed suggestive associations of rs9836592 with childhood intelligence (P = 0.044) and educational attainment (P = 0.0039), a "proxy phenotype" of general cognitive abilities. Intriguingly, the CHDH gene is located at chromosome 3p21.1, a risk region implicated in previous BPD genome-wide association studies (GWAS), but CHDH is lying outside of the core GWAS linkage disequilibrium (LD) region, and our studied SNP rs9836592 is ∼1.2 Mb 3' downstream of the previous GWAS loci (e.g., rs2251219) with no LD between them; thus, the association observed here is unlikely a reflection of previous GWAS signals. In summary, our results imply that CHDH may play a previously unknown role in the etiology of BPD and also highlight the informative value of integrating gene expression and genetic code in advancing our understanding of its biological basis.

The Inverse Link Between Genetic Risk for Schizophrenia and Migraine Through NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) Receptor Activation Via D-serine

European Neuropsychopharmacology : the Journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Sep, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27394076

Schizophrenia has a considerable genetic background. Epidemiological studies suggest an inverse clinical association between schizophrenia and migraine. However, it is unclear to what extent this inverse comorbidity can be explained by genetic mechanisms or by schizophrenia-related behavioral factors. For both disorders hypotheses of glutamate N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor dysfunction have been developed in the past. We hypothesized that both conditions share common genetic factors with inverse effects, primary in the glutamatergic system and genes involved in NMDA activation. Data from the population based Study of Health in Pomerania (N=3973) were used. Based on the results from the recent genome-wide association study for schizophrenia, we calculated polygenic scores (PRS) for subsets of SNPs with different p-value cutoffs and for biological sub-entities. These scores were tested for an association of distinct biological pathways with migraine. The PRS for schizophrenia was inversely associated with migraine in our sample. This association was exclusively based on the genome-wide hits and on single nucleotide polymorphisms near or within genes encoding proteins involved in glutamatergic neurotransmission. This association could be attributed to a single intronic variant rs4523957 in SRR encoding serine-racemase. Additional expression quantitative trait loci analyses of functional variants in SRR and gene-by-gene interaction analyses further supported the validity of this finding. SRR represents the rate limiting enzyme for the synthesis of D-serine, an important co-agonist of the NMDA receptor. According to our results, a decreased versus increased activation of NMDA receptors may play a role in the etiology of schizophrenia, as well as in migraine.

Genome-wide Association Study of 40,000 Individuals Identifies Two Novel Loci Associated with Bipolar Disorder

Human Molecular Genetics. Aug, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27329760

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a genetically complex mental illness characterized by severe oscillations of mood and behaviour. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several risk loci that together account for a small portion of the heritability. To identify additional risk loci, we performed a two-stage meta-analysis of >9 million genetic variants in 9,784 bipolar disorder patients and 30,471 controls, the largest GWAS of BD to date. In this study, to increase power we used ∼2,000 lithium-treated cases with a long-term diagnosis of BD from the Consortium on Lithium Genetics, excess controls, and analytic methods optimized for markers on the X-chromosome. In addition to four known loci, results revealed genome-wide significant associations at two novel loci: an intergenic region on 9p21.3 (rs12553324, P =  5.87 × 10 (-)  (9); odds ratio (OR) = 1.12) and markers within ERBB2 (rs2517959, P =  4.53 × 10 (-)  (9); OR = 1.13). No significant X-chromosome associations were detected and X-linked markers explained very little BD heritability. The results add to a growing list of common autosomal variants involved in BD and illustrate the power of comparing well-characterized cases to an excess of controls in GWAS.

Human Engineered Heart Tissue: Analysis of Contractile Force

Stem Cell Reports. Jul, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27211213

Analyzing contractile force, the most important and best understood function of cardiomyocytes in vivo is not established in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CM). This study describes the generation of 3D, strip-format, force-generating engineered heart tissues (EHT) from hiPSC-CM and their physiological and pharmacological properties. CM were differentiated from hiPSC by a growth factor-based three-stage protocol. EHTs were generated and analyzed histologically and functionally. HiPSC-CM in EHTs showed well-developed sarcomeric organization and alignment, and frequent mitochondria. Systematic contractility analysis (26 concentration-response curves) reveals that EHTs replicated canonical response to physiological and pharmacological regulators of inotropy, membrane- and calcium-clock mediators of pacemaking, modulators of ion-channel currents, and proarrhythmic compounds with unprecedented precision. The analysis demonstrates a high degree of similarity between hiPSC-CM in EHT format and native human heart tissue, indicating that human EHTs are useful for preclinical drug testing and disease modeling.

Effect of Copy Number Variant Burden on Global Assessment of Functioning in Schizophrenia

Psychiatric Genetics. Aug, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27096220

Psychopathological Symptoms Assessed by a System-Specific Approach Are Related to Global Functioning in Schizophrenic Disorders

Psychopathology. 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27002327

By mostly using a positive-negative approach, several studies have identified factors that influence day-to-day functioning. We applied a different, system-specific approach to expand the knowledge of this issue.

The Longitudinal Course of Schizophrenia Across the Lifespan: Clinical, Cognitive, and Neurobiological Aspects

Harvard Review of Psychiatry. Mar-Apr, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26954596

Despite several decades of research, our knowledge of the long-term course of schizophrenia (SZ) is hampered by a lack of homogeneity of both research methods and phenotypic definitions of SZ's course. We provide a comprehensive review of the course of SZ by applying stringent methodological and diagnostic study-selection criteria. We report on positive and negative symptoms, cognition, and findings obtained by neuroimaging. In addition, we perform a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies of cognition in humans. We selected 35 human studies focusing on a narrow SZ phenotype, employing a follow-up duration of six months or more and consistent methodology at the different measurement points. For the meta-analysis on global cognitive change, eight and four studies were used to compare SZ to healthy and psychiatric controls, respectively. We find that the course of SZ is characterized by a constancy or even improvement of positive and negative symptoms and by fairly stable cognitive impairment, reflecting structural frontal and temporal cortical pathology. Progressive changes of the frontal cortex appear to develop in parallel with changes in symptomatology and executive impairment. Despite stable differences in cognition between patients and controls over the time intervals studied, high heterogeneity in the magnitude of effect sizes is present, and age is identified as one of its potential sources. Meta-regression shows these magnitudes to depend on the age at study inclusion. For future research, a combination of longitudinal and cross-sectional research designs is warranted to better account for potential cohort effects.

Analysis of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor-Mediated Decline in Contractile Force in Rat Engineered Heart Tissue

PloS One. 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26840448

Left ventricular dysfunction is a frequent and potentially severe side effect of many tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI). The mode of toxicity is not identified, but may include impairment of mitochondrial or sarcomeric function, autophagy or angiogenesis, either as an on-target or off-target mechanism.

Genetic Variants Associated with Response to Lithium Treatment in Bipolar Disorder: a Genome-wide Association Study

Lancet (London, England). Mar, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26806518

Lithium is a first-line treatment in bipolar disorder, but individual response is variable. Previous studies have suggested that lithium response is a heritable trait. However, no genetic markers of treatment response have been reproducibly identified.

Going Longitudinal in Biological Psychiatric Research: All Things Considered

Neuroscience Research. Jan, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26742506

Convergent Lines of Evidence Support LRP8 As a Susceptibility Gene for Psychosis

Molecular Neurobiology. Dec, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26637325

Reelin (RELN) is identified as a risk gene for major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia (SCZ) and bipolar disorder (BPD). However, the role of its downstream signaling molecule, the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 8 (LRP8) in these illnesses is still unclear. To detect whether LRP8 is a susceptibility gene for SCZ and BPD, we analyzed the associations of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in LRP8 in a total of 47,187 subjects (including 9379 SCZ patients; 6990 BPD patients; and 12,556 controls in a screening sample, and 1397 SCZ families, 3947 BPD patients, and 8387 controls in independent replications), and identified a non-synonymous SNP rs5174 in LRP8 significantly associated with SCZ and BPD as well as the combined psychosis phenotype (P meta = 1.99 × 10(-5), odds ratio (OR) = 1.066, 95 % confidence interval (CI) = 1.035-1.098). The risk SNP rs5174 was also associated with LRP8 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in multiple brain tissues across independent samples (lowest P = 0.00005). Further exploratory analysis revealed that LRP8 was preferentially expressed in fetal brain tissues. Protein-protein interaction (PPI) analysis demonstrated that LRP8 significantly participated in a highly interconnected PPI network build by top risk genes for SCZ and BPD (P = 7.0 × 10(-4)). Collectively, we confirmed that LRP8 is a risk gene for psychosis, and our results provide useful information toward a better understanding of genetic mechanism involving LRP8 underlying risk of complex psychiatric disorders.

Impact of a Cis-associated Gene Expression SNP on Chromosome 20q11.22 on Bipolar Disorder Susceptibility, Hippocampal Structure and Cognitive Performance

The British Journal of Psychiatry : the Journal of Mental Science. Feb, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26338991

Bipolar disorder is a highly heritable polygenic disorder. Recent enrichment analyses suggest that there may be true risk variants for bipolar disorder in the expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) in the brain.

Identification of Shared Risk Loci and Pathways for Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia

PloS One. 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28166306

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a highly heritable neuropsychiatric disease characterized by recurrent episodes of mania and depression. BD shows substantial clinical and genetic overlap with other psychiatric disorders, in particular schizophrenia (SCZ). The genes underlying this etiological overlap remain largely unknown. A recent SCZ genome wide association study (GWAS) by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium identified 128 independent genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The present study investigated whether these SCZ-associated SNPs also contribute to BD development through the performance of association testing in a large BD GWAS dataset (9747 patients, 14278 controls). After re-imputation and correction for sample overlap, 22 of 107 investigated SCZ SNPs showed nominal association with BD. The number of shared SCZ-BD SNPs was significantly higher than expected (p = 1.46x10-8). This provides further evidence that SCZ-associated loci contribute to the development of BD. Two SNPs remained significant after Bonferroni correction. The most strongly associated SNP was located near TRANK1, which is a reported genome-wide significant risk gene for BD. Pathway analyses for all shared SCZ-BD SNPs revealed 25 nominally enriched gene-sets, which showed partial overlap in terms of the underlying genes. The enriched gene-sets included calcium- and glutamate signaling, neuropathic pain signaling in dorsal horn neurons, and calmodulin binding. The present data provide further insights into shared risk loci and disease-associated pathways for BD and SCZ. This may suggest new research directions for the treatment and prevention of these two major psychiatric disorders.

Pharmacogenetics of Antidepressant Response: A Polygenic Approach

Progress in Neuro-psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry. Apr, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28159590

Major depressive disorder (MDD) has a high personal and socio-economic burden and >60% of patients fail to achieve remission with the first antidepressant. The biological mechanisms behind antidepressant response are only partially known but genetic factors play a relevant role. A combined predictor across genetic variants may be useful to investigate this complex trait.

Environmental Factors, Life Events, and Trauma in the Course of Bipolar Disorder

Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. Jan, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 27500795

The etiology and clinical course of bipolar disorder are considered to be determined by genetic and environmental factors. Although the kindling hypothesis emphasizes the impact of environmental factors on initial onset, their connection to the outcome and clinical course have been poorly established. Hence, there have been numerous research efforts to investigate the impact of environmental factors on the clinical course of illness. Our aim is to outline recent research on the impact of environmental determinants on the clinical course of bipolar disorder. We carried out a computer-aided search to find publications on an association between environmental factors, life events, and the clinical course of bipolar disorder. Publications in the reference lists of suitable papers have also been taken into consideration. We performed a narrative overview on all eligible publications. The available body of data supports an association between environmental factors and the clinical course of bipolar disorder. These factors comprise prenatal, early-life, and entire lifespan aspects. Given varying sample sizes and several methodological limitations, the reported quality and extent of the association between environmental factors and the clinical course of bipolar disorder should be interpreted with utmost caution. Systematic longitudinal long-term follow-up trials are needed to obtain a clearer and more robust picture.

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