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Suicidal behavior is moderately heritable and a consequence of a combination of the diathesis traits for suicidal behavior and suicide-related major psychiatric disorders. Here, we sought to examine shared polygenic effects between various psychiatric disorders/traits and suicidal behavior and to compare the shared polygenic effects of various psychiatric disorders/traits on non-fatal suicide attempt and suicide death.
We used our genotyped European ancestry sample of 260 non-fatal suicide attempters, 317 suicide decedents and 874 non-psychiatric controls to test whether polygenic risk scores (PRSs) obtained from large GWASs for 22 suicide-related psychiatric disorders/traits were associated with suicidal behavior. Results were compared between non-fatal suicide attempt and suicide death in a sensitivity analysis.
PRSs for major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, alcohol dependence, sensitivity to environmental stress and adversity, educational attainment, cognitive performance, and IQ were associated with suicidal behavior (Bonferroni-corrected p < 2.5 × 10−4). The polygenic effects of all 22 psychiatric disorders/traits had the same direction (p for binomial tests = 4.8 × 10−7) and were correlated (Spearman's ρ = 0.85) between non-fatal suicide attempters and suicide decedents.
We found that polygenic effects for major psychiatric disorders and diathesis-related traits including stress responsiveness and intellect/cognitive function contributed to suicidal behavior. While we found comparable polygenic architecture between non-fatal suicide attempters and suicide decedents based on correlations with PRSs of suicide-related psychiatric disorders/traits, our analyses are limited by small sample size resulting in low statistical power to detect difference between non-fatal suicide attempt and suicide death.
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