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Birth weight influences not only brain development, but also mental health outcomes, including depression, but the underlying mechanism is unclear.
The phenotypic data of 12,872–91,009 participants (59.18–63.38% women) from UK Biobank were included to test the associations between the birth weight, depression, and brain volumes through the linear and logistic regression models. As birth weight is highly heritable, the polygenic risk scores (PRSs) of birth weight were calculated from the UK Biobank cohort (154,539 participants, 56.90% women) to estimate the effect of birth weight-related genetic variation on the development of depression and brain volumes. Finally, the mediation analyses of step approach and mediation analysis were used to estimate the role of brain volumes in the association between birth weight and depression. All analyses were conducted sex stratified to assess sex-specific role in the associations.
We observed associations between birth weight and depression (odds ratio [OR] = 0.968, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.957–0.979, p = 2.29 × 10−6). Positive associations were observed between birth weight and brain volumes, such as gray matter (B = 0.131, p = 3.51 × 10−74) and white matter (B = 0.129, p = 1.67 × 10−74). Depression was also associated with brain volume, such as left thalamus (OR = 0.891, 95% CI = 0.850–0.933, p = 4.46 × 10−5) and right thalamus (OR = 0.884, 95% CI = 0.841–0.928, p = 2.67 × 10−5). Additionally, significant mediation effects of brain volume were found for the associations between birth weight and depression through steps approach and mediation analysis, such as gray matter (B = –0.220, p = 0.020) and right thalamus (B = –0.207, p = 0.014).
Our results showed the associations among birth weight, depression, and brain volumes, and the mediation effect of brain volumes also provide evidence for the sex-specific of associations.
Psychiatric disorders are a group of complex psychological syndromes with high prevalence. Recent studies observed associations between altered plasma proteins and psychiatric disorders. This study aims to systematically explore the potential genetic relationships between five major psychiatric disorders and more than 3,000 plasma proteins.
The genome-wide association study (GWAS) datasets of attention deficiency/hyperactive disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), bipolar disorder (BD), schizophrenia (SCZ) and major depressive disorder (MDD) were driven from the Psychiatric GWAS Consortium. The GWAS datasets of 3,283 human plasma proteins were derived from recently published study, including 3,301 study subjects. Linkage disequilibrium score (LDSC) regression analysis were conducted to evaluate the genetic correlations between psychiatric disorders and each of the 3,283 plasma proteins.
LDSC observed several genetic correlations between plasma proteins and psychiatric disorders, such as ADHD and lysosomal Pro-X carboxypeptidase (p value = 0.015), ASD and extracellular superoxide dismutase (Cu-Zn; p value = 0.023), BD and alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminide alpha-2,6-sialyltransferase 6 (p value = 0.007), MDD and trefoil factor 1 (p value = 0.011), and SCZ and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 6 (p value = 0.011). Additionally, we detected four common plasma proteins showing correlation evidence with both BD and SCZ, such as tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 1B (p value = 0.012 for BD, p value = 0.011 for SCZ).
This study provided an atlas of genetic correlations between psychiatric disorders and plasma proteome, providing novel clues for pathogenetic and biomarkers, therapeutic studies of psychiatric disorders.
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