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A transdiagnostic and contextual framework of ‘clinical characterization’, combining clinical, psychopathological, sociodemographic, etiological, and other personal contextual data, may add clinical value over and above categorical algorithm-based diagnosis.
Prediction of need for care and health care outcomes was examined prospectively as a function of the contextual clinical characterization diagnostic framework in a prospective general population cohort (n = 6646 at baseline), interviewed four times between 2007 and 2018 (NEMESIS-2). Measures of need, service use, and use of medication were predicted as a function of any of 13 DSM-IV diagnoses, both separately and in combination with clinical characterization across multiple domains: social circumstances/demographics, symptom dimensions, physical health, clinical/etiological factors, staging, and polygenic risk scores (PRS). Effect sizes were expressed as population attributable fractions.
Any prediction of DSM-diagnosis in relation to need and outcome in separate models was entirely reducible to components of contextual clinical characterization in joint models, particularly the component of transdiagnostic symptom dimensions (a simple score of the number of anxiety, depression, mania, and psychosis symptoms) and staging (subthreshold, incidence, persistence), and to a lesser degree clinical factors (early adversity, family history, suicidality, slowness at interview, neuroticism, and extraversion), and sociodemographic factors. Clinical characterization components in combination predicted more than any component in isolation. PRS did not meaningfully contribute to any clinical characterization model.
A transdiagnostic framework of contextual clinical characterization is of more value to patients than a categorical system of algorithmic ordering of psychopathology.
Although attenuated psychotic symptoms in the psychosis clinical high-risk state (CHR-P) almost always occur in the context of a non-psychotic disorder (NPD), NPD is considered an undesired ‘comorbidity’ epiphenomenon rather than an integral part of CHR-P itself. Prospective work, however, indicates that much more of the clinical psychosis incidence is attributable to prior mood and drug use disorders than to psychosis clinical high-risk states per se. In order to examine this conundrum, we analysed to what degree the ‘risk’ in CHR-P is indexed by co-present NPD rather than attenuated psychosis per se.
We examined the incidence of early psychotic experiences (PE) with and without NPD (mood disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol/drug use disorders), in a prospective general population cohort (n = 6123 at risk of incident PE at baseline). Four interview waves were conducted between 2007 and 2018 (NEMESIS-2). The incidence of PE, alone (PE-only) or with NPD (PE + NPD) was calculated, as were differential associations with schizophrenia polygenic risk score (PRS-Sz), environmental, demographical, clinical and cognitive factors.
The incidence of PE + NPD (0.37%) was lower than the incidence of PE-only (1.04%), representing around a third of the total yearly incidence of PE. Incident PE + NPD was, in comparison with PE-only, differentially characterised by poor functioning, environmental risks, PRS-Sz, positive family history, prescription of antipsychotic medication and (mental) health service use.
The risk in ‘clinical high risk’ states is mediated not by attenuated psychosis per se but specifically the combination of attenuated psychosis and NPD. CHR-P/APS research should be reconceptualised from a focus on attenuated psychotic symptoms with exclusion of non-psychotic DSM-disorders, as the ‘pure' representation of a supposedly homotypic psychosis risk state, towards a focus on poor-outcome NPDs, characterised by a degree of psychosis admixture, on the pathway to psychotic disorder outcomes.
A cumulative environmental exposure score for schizophrenia (exposome score for schizophrenia [ES-SCZ]) may provide potential utility for risk stratification and outcome prediction. Here, we investigated whether ES-SCZ was associated with functioning in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, unaffected siblings, and healthy controls.
This cross-sectional sample consisted of 1,261 patients, 1,282 unaffected siblings, and 1,525 healthy controls. The Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale was used to assess functioning. ES-SCZ was calculated based on our previously validated method. The association between ES-SCZ and the GAF dimensions (symptom and disability) was analyzed by applying regression models in each group (patients, siblings, and controls). Additional models included polygenic risk score for schizophrenia (PRS-SCZ) as a covariate.
ES-SCZ was associated with the GAF dimensions in patients (symptom: B = −1.53, p-value = 0.001; disability: B = −1.44, p-value = 0.001), siblings (symptom: B = −3.07, p-value < 0.001; disability: B = −2.52, p-value < 0.001), and healthy controls (symptom: B = −1.50, p-value < 0.001; disability: B = −1.31, p-value < 0.001). The results remained the same after adjusting for PRS-SCZ. The degree of associations of ES-SCZ with both symptom and disability dimensions were higher in unaffected siblings than in patients and controls. By analyzing an independent dataset (the Genetic Risk and Outcome of Psychosis study), we replicated the results observed in the patient group.
Our findings suggest that ES-SCZ shows promise for enhancing risk prediction and stratification in research practice. From a clinical perspective, ES-SCZ may aid in efforts of clinical characterization, operationalizing transdiagnostic clinical staging models, and personalizing clinical management.
There is evidence that environmental and genetic risk factors for schizophrenia spectrum disorders are transdiagnostic and mediated in part through a generic pathway of affective dysregulation.
We analysed to what degree the impact of schizophrenia polygenic risk (PRS-SZ) and childhood adversity (CA) on psychosis outcomes was contingent on co-presence of affective dysregulation, defined as significant depressive symptoms, in (i) NEMESIS-2 (n = 6646), a representative general population sample, interviewed four times over nine years and (ii) EUGEI (n = 4068) a sample of patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, the siblings of these patients and controls.
The impact of PRS-SZ on psychosis showed significant dependence on co-presence of affective dysregulation in NEMESIS-2 [relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI): 1.01, p = 0.037] and in EUGEI (RERI = 3.39, p = 0.048). This was particularly evident for delusional ideation (NEMESIS-2: RERI = 1.74, p = 0.003; EUGEI: RERI = 4.16, p = 0.019) and not for hallucinatory experiences (NEMESIS-2: RERI = 0.65, p = 0.284; EUGEI: −0.37, p = 0.547). A similar and stronger pattern of results was evident for CA (RERI delusions and hallucinations: NEMESIS-2: 3.02, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 6.44, p < 0.001; RERI delusional ideation: NEMESIS-2: 3.79, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 5.43, p = 0.001; RERI hallucinatory experiences: NEMESIS-2: 2.46, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 0.54, p = 0.465).
The results, and internal replication, suggest that the effects of known genetic and non-genetic risk factors for psychosis are mediated in part through an affective pathway, from which early states of delusional meaning may arise.
This study attempted to replicate whether a bias in probabilistic reasoning, or ‘jumping to conclusions’(JTC) bias is associated with being a sibling of a patient with schizophrenia spectrum disorder; and if so, whether this association is contingent on subthreshold delusional ideation.
Data were derived from the EUGEI project, a 25-centre, 15-country effort to study psychosis spectrum disorder. The current analyses included 1261 patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, 1282 siblings of patients and 1525 healthy comparison subjects, recruited in Spain (five centres), Turkey (three centres) and Serbia (one centre). The beads task was used to assess JTC bias. Lifetime experience of delusional ideation and hallucinatory experiences was assessed using the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences. General cognitive abilities were taken into account in the analyses.
JTC bias was positively associated not only with patient status but also with sibling status [adjusted relative risk (aRR) ratio : 4.23 CI 95% 3.46–5.17 for siblings and aRR: 5.07 CI 95% 4.13–6.23 for patients]. The association between JTC bias and sibling status was stronger in those with higher levels of delusional ideation (aRR interaction in siblings: 3.77 CI 95% 1.67–8.51, and in patients: 2.15 CI 95% 0.94–4.92). The association between JTC bias and sibling status was not stronger in those with higher levels of hallucinatory experiences.
These findings replicate earlier findings that JTC bias is associated with familial liability for psychosis and that this is contingent on the degree of delusional ideation but not hallucinations.
First-degree relatives of patients with psychotic disorder have higher levels of polygenic risk (PRS) for schizophrenia and higher levels of intermediate phenotypes.
We conducted, using two different samples for discovery (n = 336 controls and 649 siblings of patients with psychotic disorder) and replication (n = 1208 controls and 1106 siblings), an analysis of association between PRS on the one hand and psychopathological and cognitive intermediate phenotypes of schizophrenia on the other in a sample at average genetic risk (healthy controls) and a sample at higher than average risk (healthy siblings of patients). Two subthreshold psychosis phenotypes, as well as a standardised measure of cognitive ability, based on a short version of the WAIS-III short form, were used. In addition, a measure of jumping to conclusion bias (replication sample only) was tested for association with PRS.
In both discovery and replication sample, evidence for an association between PRS and subthreshold psychosis phenotypes was observed in the relatives of patients, whereas in the controls no association was observed. Jumping to conclusion bias was similarly only associated with PRS in the sibling group. Cognitive ability was weakly negatively and non-significantly associated with PRS in both the sibling and the control group.
The degree of endophenotypic expression of schizophrenia polygenic risk depends on having a sibling with psychotic disorder, suggestive of underlying gene–environment interaction. Cognitive biases may better index genetic risk of disorder than traditional measures of neurocognition, which instead may reflect the population distribution of cognitive ability impacting the prognosis of psychotic disorder.
It has been established that thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) affects several aspects of immunoreactivity, e.g. production of proinflammatory cytokines. It has been shown that TRH enhances the therapeutic efficiency of classical tricyclic antidepressants. Proinflammatory cytokines may play a role in the etiology of depression, whereas the therapeutic efficacy of antidepressants may be related to their negative immunoregulatory effects.
In order to verify the hypothesis that TRH-induced increase of therapeutic efficiency of classical tricyclic antidepressants results from synergistic inhibitory effects of these agents on the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines, we determine the effect of imipramine or fluoxetine with and without TRH on the production of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) by stimulated human whole blood cells.
Diluted whole blood of 17 volunteers was incubated with imipramine or fluoxetine (both in doses of 10−5 M) with or without TRH (in a dose of 10−5 M). The supernatants were collected 24 h later for the assay of TNF-α and after 72 h for the assays of IFN-γ and IL-10. The three cytokines were assayed by ELISA methods.
A significant decrease in production of IFN-γ was observed in cells stimulated with mitogens and co-incubated with imipramine or fluoxetine and TRH. Under the same conditions, TRH alone did not change the production of these cytokines, whereas imipramine alone significantly decreases IFN-γ production, and fluoxetine alone significantly decreases IFN-γ and TNF-α production.
Although a significant decrease in IFN-γ production was observed after joint application of TRH and antidepressants, our data did not support the above-mentioned hypothesis. Indeed, we did not observe synergistic inhibitory effects of these agents on the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines.
Daily-life stress sensitivity is associated with depression, but prospective data are lacking.
To examine associations between baseline ecological daily-life stress sensitivity and later depression, and to identify genetic and non-genetic factors moderating the transition from stress sensitivity to depression.
Daily-life stress sensitivity was assessed at baseline in twins (n = 502). One baseline and four follow-up measurements of depressive symptoms and negative life events were collected, as well as interview-based diagnoses at baseline and last follow-up. Hypothesised genetic markers were determined.
Baseline stress sensitivity was associated with increased depressive symptoms at follow-up and risk of major depressive disorder. Both genetic liability and major life events moderated the probability of transition from stress sensitivity to depression.
Onset of depression is attributable to pre-onset ecological measurements of stress sensitivity, particularly where genetic liability is high and individuals have reached a stage where the influence of competing environmental causes is low.
A bias to develop negative affect in response to daily life stressors may be an important depression endophenotype, but remains difficult to assess.
To assess this mood bias endophenotype, uncontaminated by current mood, in the course of daily life.
The experience samping method was used to collect multiple appraisals of daily life event-related stress and negative affect in 279 female twin pairs. Cross-twin, cross-trait associations between daily life mood bias and DSM – IV depression were conducted.
Probands whose co-twins were diagnosed with lifetime depression showed a stronger mood bias to stress than those with co-twins without such a diagnosis, independent of probands' current depressive symptoms and to a greater extent in monozygotic twins than in dizygotic twins.
Genetic liability to depression is in part expressed as the tendency to display negative affect in response to minor stressors in daily life. This trait may represent a true depression endophenotype.
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