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Previous studies have inferred a strong genetic component in schizophrenia. However, the genetic variants involved in the susceptibility to schizophrenia remain unclear.
To detect potential gene pathways and networks associated with schizophrenia, and to explore the relationship between common and rare variants in these pathways and abnormal white matter integrity in schizophrenia.
The analysis included 100 first-episode treatment-naïve patients with schizophrenia and 140 healthy controls. A network-based analysis was carried out on the data collected from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium Phase I (PGC-I). Based on our genome-wide association study and whole-exome sequencing data-sets, we performed a gene-set analysis to detect associations between the combining effects of common and rare genetic variants and abnormal white matter integrity in schizophrenia.
Patients had significantly reduced functional anisotropy in the left and right anterior cingulate cortex, left and right precuneus and extra-nuclear (t = 4.61–5.10, PFDR < 0.01), compared with controls. Generated from co-expression network analysis of the PGC-1 summary statistics of schizophrenia, a subnetwork of 207 genes associated with schizophrenia was identified (P < 0.01), and 176 genes were co-expressed in four gene modules. Functional enrichment analysis for genes in each module revealed that the yellow module was enriched with highly co-expressed, innate immune response genes. Furthermore, rare variants of enriched genes in the yellow module were associated with reduced functional anisotropy in the left anterior cingulate cortex (P = 0.006; Padjusted = 0.024) in patients only.
The pathogenesis of schizophrenia may be substantially influenced by genes involved in the immune system, via both pathway and network.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a leading cause of disability worldwide and influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. Genetic studies of MDD have focused on common variants and have been constrained by the heterogeneity of clinical symptoms.
We sequenced the exome of 77 cases and 245 controls of Han Chinese ancestry and scanned their brain. Burden tests of rare variants were performed first to explore the association between genes/pathways and MDD. Secondly, parallel Independent Component Analysis was conducted to investigate genetic underpinnings of gray matter volume (GMV) changes of MDD.
Two genes (CSMD1, p = 5.32×10−6; CNTNAP5, p = 1.32×10−6) and one pathway (Neuroactive Ligand Receptor Interactive, p = 1.29×10−5) achieved significance in burden test. In addition, we identified one pair of imaging-genetic components of significant correlation (r = 0.38, p = 9.92×10−6). The imaging component reflected decreased GMV in cases and correlated with intelligence quotient (IQ). IQ mediated the effects of GMV on MDD. The genetic component enriched in two gene sets, namely Singling by G-protein coupled receptors [false discovery rate (FDR) q = 3.23×10−4) and Alzheimer Disease Up (FDR q = 6.12×10−4).
Both rare variants analysis and imaging–genetic analysis found evidence corresponding with the neuroinflammation and synaptic plasticity hypotheses of MDD. The mediation of IQ indicates that genetic component may act on MDD through GMV alteration and cognitive impairment.
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