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Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
Glucose and acetate are two of the most important metabolites which supply energy to ruminant tissues. Minimal quantities of glucose are absorbed from the alimentary tract and thus glucose requirements must be met through synthesis from gluconeogenic precursors. One such precursor is protein and, in the two experiments to be reported, the effect of varying protein supply on both glucose and acetate metabolism was studied. In experiment 1, protein supply was varied by the addition of two levels of fishmeal to a grass silage diet while in experiment 2, two diets (perennial ryegrass and white clover) known to supply widely different amounts of absorbed protein were compared.
Fetal growth restriction (FGR) and preterm birth are frequent co-morbidities, both are independent risks for brain injury. However, few studies have examined the mechanisms by which preterm FGR increases the risk of adverse neurological outcomes. We aimed to determine the effects of prematurity and mechanical ventilation (VENT) on the brain of FGR and appropriately grown (AG, control) lambs. We hypothesized that FGR preterm lambs are more vulnerable to ventilation-induced acute brain injury. FGR was surgically induced in fetal sheep (0.7 gestation) by ligation of a single umbilical artery. After 4 weeks, preterm lambs were euthanized at delivery or delivered and ventilated for 2 h before euthanasia. Brains and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were collected for analysis of molecular and structural indices of early brain injury. FGRVENT lambs had increased oxidative cell damage and brain injury marker S100B levels compared with all other groups. Mechanical ventilation increased inflammatory marker IL-8 within the brain of FGRVENT and AGVENT lambs. Abnormalities in the neurovascular unit and increased blood–brain barrier permeability were observed in FGRVENT lambs, as well as an altered density of vascular tight junctions markers. FGR and AG preterm lambs have different responses to acute injurious mechanical ventilation, changes which appear to have been developmentally programmed in utero.
Depression and obesity are highly prevalent, and major impacts on public health frequently co-occur. Recently, we reported that having depression moderates the effect of the FTO gene, suggesting its implication in the association between depression and obesity.
To confirm these findings by investigating the FTO polymorphism rs9939609 in new cohorts, and subsequently in a meta-analysis.
The sample consists of 6902 individuals with depression and 6799 controls from three replication cohorts and two original discovery cohorts. Linear regression models were performed to test for association between rs9939609 and body mass index (BMI), and for the interaction between rs9939609 and depression status for an effect on BMI. Fixed and random effects meta-analyses were performed using METASOFT.
In the replication cohorts, we observed a significant interaction between FTO, BMI and depression with fixed effects meta-analysis (β=0.12, P = 2.7 × 10−4) and with the Han/Eskin random effects method (P = 1.4 × 10−7) but not with traditional random effects (β = 0.1, P = 0.35). When combined with the discovery cohorts, random effects meta-analysis also supports the interaction (β = 0.12, P = 0.027) being highly significant based on the Han/Eskin model (P = 6.9 × 10−8). On average, carriers of the risk allele who have depression have a 2.2% higher BMI for each risk allele, over and above the main effect of FTO.
This meta-analysis provides additional support for a significant interaction between FTO, depression and BMI, indicating that depression increases the effect of FTO on BMI. The findings provide a useful starting point in understanding the biological mechanism involved in the association between obesity and depression.
Our understanding of the complex relationship between schizophrenia symptomatology and etiological factors can be improved by studying brain-based correlates of schizophrenia. Research showed that impairments in value processing and executive functioning, which have been associated with prefrontal brain areas [particularly the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC)], are linked to negative symptoms. Here we tested the hypothesis that MOFC thickness is associated with negative symptom severity.
This study included 1985 individuals with schizophrenia from 17 research groups around the world contributing to the ENIGMA Schizophrenia Working Group. Cortical thickness values were obtained from T1-weighted structural brain scans using FreeSurfer. A meta-analysis across sites was conducted over effect sizes from a model predicting cortical thickness by negative symptom score (harmonized Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms or Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale scores).
Meta-analytical results showed that left, but not right, MOFC thickness was significantly associated with negative symptom severity (βstd = −0.075; p = 0.019) after accounting for age, gender, and site. This effect remained significant (p = 0.036) in a model including overall illness severity. Covarying for duration of illness, age of onset, antipsychotic medication or handedness weakened the association of negative symptoms with left MOFC thickness. As part of a secondary analysis including 10 other prefrontal regions further associations in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and pars opercularis emerged.
Using an unusually large cohort and a meta-analytical approach, our findings point towards a link between prefrontal thinning and negative symptom severity in schizophrenia. This finding provides further insight into the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
DSM-5 proposes an Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome (APS) for further investigation, based upon the Attenuated Positive Symptom Syndrome (APSS) in the Structured Interview for Psychosis-Risk Syndromes (SIPS). SIPS Unusual Thought Content, Disorganized Communication and Total Disorganization scores predicted progression to psychosis in a 2015 NAPLS-2 Consortium report. We sought to independently replicate this in a large single-site high-risk cohort, and identify baseline demographic and clinical predictors beyond current APS/APSS criteria.
We prospectively studied 200 participants meeting criteria for both the SIPS APSS and DSM-5 APS. SIPS scores, demographics, family history of psychosis, DSM Axis-I diagnoses, schizotypy, and social and role functioning were assessed at baseline, with follow-up every 3 months for 2 years.
The conversion rate was 30% (n = 60), or 37.7% excluding participants who were followed under 2 years. This rate was stable across time. Conversion time averaged 7.97 months for 60% who developed schizophrenia and 15.68 for other psychoses. Mean conversion age was 20.3 for males and 23.5 for females. Attenuated odd ideas and thought disorder appear to be the positive symptoms which best predict psychosis in a logistic regression. Total negative symptom score, Asian/Pacific Islander and Black/African-American race were also predictive. As no Axis-I diagnosis or schizotypy predicted conversion, the APS is supported as a distinct syndrome. In addition, cannabis use disorder did not increase risk of conversion to psychosis.
NAPLS SIPS findings were replicated while controlling for clinical and demographic factors, strongly supporting the validity of the SIPS APSS and DSM-5 APS diagnosis.
Identifying youth who may engage in future substance use could facilitate early identification of substance use disorder vulnerability. We aimed to identify biomarkers that predicted future substance use in psychiatrically un-well youth.
LASSO regression for variable selection was used to predict substance use 24.3 months after neuroimaging assessment in 73 behaviorally and emotionally dysregulated youth aged 13.9 (s.d. = 2.0) years, 30 female, from three clinical sites in the Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms (LAMS) study. Predictor variables included neural activity during a reward task, cortical thickness, and clinical and demographic variables.
Future substance use was associated with higher left middle prefrontal cortex activity, lower left ventral anterior insula activity, thicker caudal anterior cingulate cortex, higher depression and lower mania scores, not using antipsychotic medication, more parental stress, older age. This combination of variables explained 60.4% of the variance in future substance use, and accurately classified 83.6%.
These variables explained a large proportion of the variance, were useful classifiers of future substance use, and showed the value of combining multiple domains to provide a comprehensive understanding of substance use development. This may be a step toward identifying neural measures that can identify future substance use disorder risk, and act as targets for therapeutic interventions.
The Rosetta Radio Science Investigations (RSI) experiment was selected by the European Space Agency to be included in the International Rosetta Mission to comet P/Wirtanen (launch in 2003, arrival and operational phase at the comet 2011–2013). The RSI science objectives address fundamental aspects of cometary physics such as the mass and bulk density of the nucleus, the gravity field, non-gravitational forces, the size and shape, the internal structure, the composition and roughness of the nucleus surface, the abundance of large dust grains and the plasma content in the coma and the combined dust and gas mass flux on the orbiter. RSI will make use of the radio subsystem of the Rosetta spacecraft.
Social functioning (SF) difficulties are ubiquitous among individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis (CHR), but it is not yet clear why. One possibility is suggested by the observation that effective SF requires adaptive emotion awareness and regulation. Previous reports have documented deficits in emotion awareness and regulation in individuals with schizophrenia, and have shown that such deficits predicted SF. However, it is unknown whether these deficits are present prior to the onset of psychosis or whether they are linked to SF in CHR individuals.
We conducted a cross-sectional comparison of emotion awareness and regulation in 54 individuals at CHR, 87 with schizophrenia and 50 healthy controls (HC). Then, within the CHR group, we examined links between emotion awareness, emotion regulation and SF as indexed by the Global Functioning Scale: Social (Cornblatt et al. 2007).
Group comparisons indicated significant differences between HC and the two clinical groups in their ability to identify and describe feelings, as well as the use of suppression and reappraisal emotion-regulation strategies. Specifically, the CHR and schizophrenia groups displayed comparable deficits in all domains of emotion awareness and emotion regulation. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that difficulties describing feelings accounted for 23.2% of the SF variance.
The results indicate that CHR individuals display substantial emotion awareness and emotion-regulation deficits, at severity comparable with those observed in individuals with schizophrenia. Such deficits, in particular difficulties describing feelings, predate the onset of psychosis and contribute significantly to poor SF in this population.
Ecological restoration of trees is often constrained by limited knowledge of the biology, propagation and management requirements of individual species. Consequently, restoration initiatives rarely incorporate less well-known species or those that are difficult to source and grow. We describe challenges associated with the restoration of threatened trees in the Araucaria Forest of southern Brazil, and analyse the effectiveness of methods used to define target species, identify seed sources and generate information on the phenology of rare or threatened tree species. A review of secondary data identified 71 rare or threatened taxa as targets for seed collection. We then surveyed 68.7 km of trails in 26 forest remnants, identifying and mapping 1,027 seed-producing trees of 38 species. Surveys confirmed the scarcity of several tree species (including seven species with an abundance of <0.04 individuals per km), and nine species showed no signs of fruiting during 3 years of phenological monitoring. These findings, together with limited knowledge and application of optimal seed collection methods, are significant factors impeding the recovery of these species within their natural habitat. Wider application of the results of this case study could support restoration of the Araucaria Forest with seedlings from a wider diversity of species.
Strategies to dissect phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity of major depressive disorder (MDD) have mainly relied on subphenotypes, such as age at onset (AAO) and recurrence/episodicity. Yet, evidence on whether these subphenotypes are familial or heritable is scarce. The aims of this study are to investigate the familiality of AAO and episode frequency in MDD and to assess the proportion of their variance explained by common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP heritability).
For investigating familiality, we used 691 families with 2–5 full siblings with recurrent MDD from the DeNt study. We fitted (square root) AAO and episode count in a linear and a negative binomial mixed model, respectively, with family as random effect and adjusting for sex, age and center. The strength of familiality was assessed with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). For estimating SNP heritabilities, we used 3468 unrelated MDD cases from the RADIANT and GSK Munich studies. After similarly adjusting for covariates, derived residuals were used with the GREML method in GCTA (genome-wide complex trait analysis) software.
Significant familial clustering was found for both AAO (ICC = 0.28) and episodicity (ICC = 0.07). We calculated from respective ICC estimates the maximal additive heritability of AAO (0.56) and episodicity (0.15). SNP heritability of AAO was 0.17 (p = 0.04); analysis was underpowered for calculating SNP heritability of episodicity.
AAO and episodicity aggregate in families to a moderate and small degree, respectively. AAO is under stronger additive genetic control than episodicity. Larger samples are needed to calculate the SNP heritability of episodicity. The described statistical framework could be useful in future analyses.
Overexploitation is a significant threat to biodiversity, with live capture of millions of animals annually. An improved understanding of live capture of primates is needed, especially for Madagascar's threatened lemurs. Our objectives were to provide the first quantitative estimates of the prevalence, spatial extent, correlates and timing of lemur ownership, procurement methods, within-country movements, and numbers and duration of ownership. Using semi-structured interviews of 1,093 households and 61 transporters, across 17 study sites, we found that lemur ownership was widespread and affected a variety of taxa. We estimate that 28,253 lemurs have been affected since 2010. Most lemurs were caught by owners and kept for either short (≤ 1 week) or long (≥ 3 years) periods. The live capture of lemurs in Madagascar is not highly organized but may threaten several Endangered and Critically Endangered species.
The organogenesis of the digestive system was described in the Amazonian pimelodid catfish species Pseudoplatystoma punctifer from hatching (3.5 mm total length, TL) to 41 days post-fertilization (dpf) (58.1 mm TL) reared at 28°C. Newly hatched larvae showed a simple digestive tract, which appeared as a straight undifferentiated and unfolded tube lined by a single layer of columnar epithelial cells (future enterocytes). During the endogenous feeding period, comprised between 20 and 96 h post-fertilization (3.5 to 6.1 mm TL), the larval digestive system experienced a fast transformation with the almost complete development and differentiation of most of digestive organs (buccopahrynx, oesophagus, intestine, liver and exocrine pancreas). Yolk reserves were not completely depleted at the onset of exogenous feeding (4 dpf, 6.1 mm TL), and a period of mixed nutrition was observed up to 6 to 7 dpf (6.8 to 7.3 mm TL) when yolk was definitively exhausted. The stomach was the organ that latest achieved its complete differentiation, characterized by the development of abundant gastric glands in the fundic stomach between 10 and 15 dpf (10.9 to 15.8 mm TL) and the formation of the pyloric sphincter at the junction of the pyloric stomach and the anterior intestine at 15 dpf (15.8 mm TL). The above-mentioned morphological and histological features observed suggested the achievement of a digestive system characteristic of P. punctifer juveniles and adults. The ontogeny of the digestive system in P. punctifer followed the same general pattern as in most Siluriform species so far, although some species-specific differences in the timing of differentiation of several digestive structures were noted, which might be related to different reproductive guilds, egg and larval size or even different larval rearing practices. According to present findings on the histological development of the digestive system in P. punctifer, some recommendations regarding the rearing practices of this species are also provided in order to improve the actual larval rearing techniques of this fast-growing Neotropical catfish species.
Neuroimaging measures of behavioral and emotional dysregulation can yield biomarkers denoting developmental trajectories of psychiatric pathology in youth. We aimed to identify functional abnormalities in emotion regulation (ER) neural circuitry associated with different behavioral and emotional dysregulation trajectories using latent class growth analysis (LCGA) and neuroimaging.
A total of 61 youth (9–17 years) from the Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms study, and 24 healthy control youth, completed an emotional face n-back ER task during scanning. LCGA was performed on 12 biannual reports completed over 5 years of the Parent General Behavior Inventory 10-Item Mania Scale (PGBI-10M), a parental report of the child's difficulty regulating positive mood and energy.
There were two latent classes of PGBI-10M trajectories: high and decreasing (HighD; n = 22) and low and decreasing (LowD; n = 39) course of behavioral and emotional dysregulation over the 12 time points. Task performance was >89% in all youth, but more accurate in healthy controls and LowD versus HighD (p < 0.001). During ER, LowD had greater activity than HighD and healthy controls in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a key ER region, and greater functional connectivity than HighD between the amygdala and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (p's < 0.001, corrected).
Patterns of function in lateral prefrontal cortical–amygdala circuitry in youth denote the severity of the developmental trajectory of behavioral and emotional dysregulation over time, and may be biological targets to guide differential treatment and novel treatment development for different levels of behavioral and emotional dysregulation in youth.
Although usually thought of as external environmental stressors, a significant heritable component has been reported for measures of stressful life events (SLEs) in twin studies.
We examined the variance in SLEs captured by common genetic variants from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 2578 individuals. Genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA) was used to estimate the phenotypic variance tagged by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We also performed a GWAS on the number of SLEs, and looked at correlations between siblings.
A significant proportion of variance in SLEs was captured by SNPs (30%, p = 0.04). When events were divided into those considered to be dependent or independent, an equal amount of variance was explained for both. This ‘heritability’ was in part confounded by personality measures of neuroticism and psychoticism. A GWAS for the total number of SLEs revealed one SNP that reached genome-wide significance (p = 4 × 10−8), although this association was not replicated in separate samples. Using available sibling data for 744 individuals, we also found a significant positive correlation of R2 = 0.08 in SLEs (p = 0.03).
These results provide independent validation from molecular data for the heritability of reporting environmental measures, and show that this heritability is in part due to both common variants and the confounding effect of personality.
Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture takes advantage of the mutualism between some detritivorous fish and phytoplankton. The fish recycle nutrients by consuming live (and dead) algae and provide the inorganic carbon to fuel the growth of live algae. In the meanwhile, algae purify the water and generate the oxygen required by fishes. Such mechanism stabilizes the functioning of an artificially recycling ecosystem, as exemplified by combining the euryhaline tilapia Sarotherodon melanotheron heudelotii and the unicellular alga Chlorella sp. Feed addition in this ecosystem results in faster fish growth but also in an increase in phytoplankton biomass, which must be limited. In the prototype described here, the algal population control is exerted by herbivorous zooplankton growing in a separate pond connected in parallel to the fish–algae ecosystem. The zooplankton production is then consumed by tilapia, particularly by the fry and juveniles, when water is returned to the main circuit. Chlorella sp. and Brachionus plicatilis are two planktonic species that have spontaneously colonized the brackish water of the prototype, which was set-up in Senegal along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline. In our system, water was entirely recycled and only evaporation was compensated (1.5% volume/day). Sediment, which accumulated in the zooplankton pond, was the only trophic cul-de-sac. The system was temporarily destabilized following an accidental rotifer invasion in the main circuit. This caused Chlorella disappearance and replacement by opportunist algae, not consumed by Brachionus. Following the entire consumption of the Brachionus population by tilapias, Chlorella predominated again. Our artificial ecosystem combining S. m. heudelotii, Chlorella and B. plicatilis thus appeared to be resilient. This farming system was operated over one year with a fish productivity of 1.85 kg/m2 per year during the cold season (January to April).