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Research suggests that childhood adversity (CA) is associated with a wide range of repercussions, including an increased likelihood of interpersonal stress generation. This may be particularly true following interpersonal childhood adversity (ICA) and for youth with high hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis-related genetic risk. In the current study, we applied a multilocus genetic profile score (MGPS) approach to measuring HPA axis-related genetic variation and examined its interaction with ICA to predict interpersonal stress generation in a sample of adolescents aged 14–17 (N = 241, Caucasian subsample n = 192). MGPSs were computed using 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms from HPA axis-related genes (CRHR1, NRC31, NRC32, and FKBP5). ICA significantly predicted greater adolescent interpersonal dependent stress. Additionally, MGPS predicted a stronger association between ICA and interpersonal dependent (but not independent or noninterpersonal dependent) stress. No gene–environment interaction (G×E) effects were found for noninterpersonal CA and MGPS in predicting adolescent interpersonal dependent stress. Effects remained after controlling for current depressive symptoms and following stratification by race. Findings extend existing G×E research on stress generation to HPA axis-related genetic variation and demonstrate effects specific to the interpersonal domain.
Depression is a disorder caused by genetics and environmental factors. The aim of this study was to perform a review investigating the interaction between genetic variations located in genes involved in hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA-axis) and stressful life events (SLEs) in depression.
In this systematic review, we selected articles investigating the interaction between genes involved in the HPA-axis, such as Arginine Vasopressin (AVP), Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE), Corticotrophin Releasing Hormone (CRH), Corticotrophin Releasing Hormone Receptor 1 (CRHR1), Corticotrophin Releasing Hormone Receptor 2 (CRHR2), FK506 binding protein (FKBP5), Nuclear Receptor subfamily 3 group C member 1 (NR3C1), Nuclear Receptor subfamily 3 group C member 2 (NR3C2), and SLE. The literature search was conducted using the Pubmed, Embase, and PsychINFO databases in adherence with the PRISMA guidelines.
The search yielded 48 potentially relevant studies, of which 40 were excluded following screening. Eight studies were included in the final review. A total of 97 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were examined in the eight included studies. The most prevalent gene was FKBP5, and the best studied polymorphism was FKBP5:rs1360780. Two of the five studies reported significant gene–environment (G × E) interactions between rs1360780 and SLE. Overall, four studies reported significant G × E interactions between FKBP5, CRH, or CRHR1 and SLE, respectively. No significant G × E interactions were found for the remaining genes.
Our results suggest that genetic variation in three genes in the HPA-axis possibly moderate the effects of SLEs in depression.
Genetic influences on alcohol involvement are likely to vary as a function of the ‘alcohol environment,’ given that exposure to alcohol is a necessary precondition for genetic risk to be expressed. However, few gene–environment interaction studies of alcohol involvement have focused on characteristics of the community-level alcohol environment. The goal of this study was to examine whether living in a community with more alcohol outlets would facilitate the expression of the genetic propensity to drink in a genetically-informed national survey of United States young adults.
The participants were 2434 18–26-year-old twin, full-, and half-sibling pairs from Wave III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Participants completed in-home interviews in which alcohol use was assessed. Alcohol outlet densities were extracted from state-level liquor license databases aggregated at the census tract level to derive the density of outlets.
There was evidence that the estimates of genetic and environmental influences on alcohol use varied as a function of the density of alcohol outlets in the community. For example, the heritability of the frequency of alcohol use for those residing in a neighborhood with ten or more outlets was 74% (95% confidence limits = 55–94%), compared with 16% (95% confidence limits = 0–34%) for those in a neighborhood with zero outlets. This moderating effect of alcohol outlet density was not explained by the state of residence, population density, or neighborhood sociodemographic characteristics.
The results suggest that living in a neighborhood with many alcohol outlets may be especially high-risk for those individuals who are genetically predisposed to frequently drink.
Lead is one of the environmental pollutants with cardiovascular toxicity. The embryos are particularly sensitive to lead exposure, because it can move through the blood-placental barrier and the blood-brain barrier easily during embryonic development. Cerebral cavernous malformations 3 (CCM3) gene plays an important role in cardiovascular development, mainly affecting cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. In this study, we established a blood vessel development model of mouse embryos in order to imitate human people with CCM3 genes defects and exposing to environment toxin Pb in utero. We would like to determine the interaction of Pb and CCM3 gene on vascular development, and to explore the mechanisms. We found that the yolk sac of CCM3 heterozygous mice embryo showed abnormal morphology at E11.5 after lead treatment comparing with wild type (WT) mice without lead exposure, meanwhile it showed more angiogenesis and vascular remodeling in the hematoxylin and eosin stained sections of the CCM3+/− yolk sac with lead exposure. We also found that the similar effect of Pb and CCM3 gene on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number in vivo and in vitro. Mitochondrial morphology and function also changed in primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells after lead exposure. Besides, it was found that the HIF-1α and TFAM which have close relationship with mtDNA biogenesis showed similarly increasing messenger RNA expression in both human and mouse-derived primary cells with lead treated and CCM3 gene knockout. All of the above results indicated that lead and CCM3 might damage endothelial cells through mitochondria pathway and eventually both affected angiogenesis.
In this paper, I explore in an overlapping generations framework, a mechanism motivating a neurobiological poverty trap. Poverty causes stress and depression in individuals susceptible to depression. Poor and depressed individuals discount the future at a higher rate and invest less in the human capital of their children than mentally healthy or rich individuals. This gene–environment interaction generates a vicious cycle in which poor individuals inherit not only susceptibility to depression, but also stress and poverty. I show that a successful one-time intervention has the power to permanently eliminate the neurobiological poverty trap.
Body mass and fat intake are multifactorial traits that have genetic and environmental components. The gene with the greatest effect on body mass is FTO (fat mass and obesity-associated), but several studies have shown that the effect of FTO (and of other genes) on body mass can be modified by the intake of nutrients. The so-called gene–environment interactions may also be important for the effectiveness of weight-loss strategies. Food choices, and thus fat intake, depend to some extent on individual preferences. The most important biological component of food preference is taste, and the role of fat sensitivity in fat intake has recently been pointed out. Relatively few studies have analysed the genetic components of fat intake or fatty acid sensitivity in terms of their relation to obesity. It has been proposed that decreased oral fatty acid sensitivity leads to increased fat intake and thus increased body mass. One of the genes that affect fatty acid sensitivity is CD36 (cluster of differentiation 36). However, little is known so far about the genetic component of fat sensing. We performed a literature review to identify the state of knowledge regarding the genetics of fat intake and its relation to body-mass determination, and to identify the priorities for further investigations.
Objectives: To examine whether apolipoprotein e4 (APOE) status moderates the association of family environment with child functioning following early traumatic brain injury (TBI). Methods: Sixty-five children with moderate to severe TBI and 70 children with orthopedic injury (OI) completed assessments 6, 12, 18 months, and 3.5 and 6.8 years post injury. DNA was extracted from saliva samples and genotyped for APOE e4 status. Linear mixed models examined moderating effects of APOE e4 status on associations between two family environment factors (parenting style, home environment) and three child outcomes (executive functioning, behavioral adjustment, adaptive functioning). Results: Children with TBI who were carriers of the e4 allele showed poorer adaptive functioning relative to non-carriers with TBI and children with OI in the context of low authoritarianism. At high levels of authoritarianism, non-carriers with TBI showed the poorest adaptive functioning among groups. There were no main effects or interactions involving APOE and executive functioning or behavioral adjustment. Conclusions:The APOE e4 allele was detrimental for long-term adaptive functioning in the context of positive parenting, whereas in less optimal parenting contexts, being a non-carrier was detrimental. We provide preliminary evidence for an interaction of APOE e4 status and parenting style in predicting long-term outcomes following early TBI. (JINS, 2016, 22, 859–864)
We investigated genetic and environmental correlations and gene by environment interactions (GxE) between depressive symptoms measured by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and quantity smoked measured by number of cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) using quantitative genetic modeling. The population-based sample consisted of 12,063 twin individuals from the Finnish Twin Cohort Study. Bivariate Cholesky decomposition revealed that the phenotypic correlation (r = 0.09) between BDI and CPD was explained by shared genetic (rg = 0.18) and environmental (re = 0.08) factors. GxE models incorporating moderator effects were built by using CPD as trait and BDI as moderator and vice versa. The importance of the genetic variance component increased with increasing moderator value in both models. Thus, the influence of genetic effects on variance of smoking quantity was enhanced in individuals with elevated depression score and vice versa; the genetic effects on depression variance were potentiated among heavy smokers. In conclusion, shared genetic and environmental factors as well as GxE underlie the association of smoking with depression.
The purpose of this study was to address two methodological issues that have called into question whether previously reported gene–environment interaction (GxE) effects for adolescent alcohol use are ‘real’. These issues are (1) the potential correlation between the environmental moderator and the outcome across twins and (2) non-linear transformations of the behavioral outcome. Three environments that have been previously studied (peer deviance, parental knowledge, and potentially stressful life events) were examined here. For each moderator (peer deviance, parental knowledge, and potentially stressful life events), a series of models was fit to both a raw and transformed measure of monthly adolescent alcohol use in a sample that included 825 dizygotic (DZ) and 803 monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs. The results showed that the moderating effect of peer deviance was robust to transformation, and that although the significance of moderating effects of parental knowledge and potentially stressful life events were dependent on the scale of the adolescent alcohol use outcome, the overall results were consistent across transformation. In addition, the findings did not vary across statistical models. The consistency of the peer deviance results and the shift of the parental knowledge and potentially stressful life events results between trending and significant, shed some light on why previous findings for certain moderators have been inconsistent and emphasize the importance of considering both methodological issues and previous findings when conducting and interpreting GxE analyses.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common, highly heritable psychiatric disorder. Additionally, environmental factors such as perinatal stress and early adversities contribute to the occurrence and severity of ADHD. Recently, DNA methylation has emerged as a mechanism that potentially mediates gene–environmental interaction effects in the aetiology and phenomenology of psychiatric disorders. Here, we investigated whether serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) methylation patterns were associated with clinical characteristics and regional cortical thickness in children with ADHD.
In 102 children with ADHD (age 6–15 years), the methylation status of the SLC6A4 promoter was measured. Brain magnetic resonance imaging was obtained and ADHD symptoms were evaluated.
A higher methylation status of the SLC6A4 promoter was significantly associated with worse clinical presentations (more hyperactive-impulsive symptoms and more commission errors). Additionally, a negative correlation was observed between SLC6A4 methylation levels and cortical thickness values in the right occipito-temproral regions.
Our results suggest that the SLC6A4 methylation status may be associated with certain symptoms of ADHD, such as behavioural disinhibition, and related brain changes. Future studies that use a larger sample size and a control group are required to corroborate these results.
Altered dopaminergic neurotransmission in the mesocorticolimbic (MCL) system may mediate psychotic symptoms. In addition, pharmacological dopaminergic manipulation may coincide with altered functional connectivity (fc) ‘in rest’. We set out to test whether MCL-fc is conditional on (familial risk for) psychotic disorder and/or interactions with environmental exposures.
Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data were obtained from 63 patients with psychotic disorder, 73 non-psychotic siblings of patients with psychotic disorder and 59 healthy controls. With the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) as seed region, fc within the MCL system was estimated. Regression analyses adjusting for a priori hypothesized confounders were used to assess group differences in MCL connectivity as well as gene (group) × environmental exposure interactions (G × E) (i.e. to cannabis, developmental trauma and urbanicity).
Compared with controls, patients and siblings had decreased fc between the right NAcc seed and the right orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) as well as the left middle cingulate cortex (MCC). Siblings showed decreased connectivity between the NAcc seed and lentiform nucleus compared with patients and controls. In addition, patients had decreased left NAcc connectivity compared with siblings in the left middle frontal gyrus. There was no evidence for a significant interaction between group and the three environmental exposures in the model of MCL-fc.
Reduced NAcc–OFC/MCC connectivity was seen in patients and siblings, suggesting that altered OFC connectivity and MCC connectivity are vulnerability markers for psychotic disorder. Differential exposure to environmental risk factors did not make an impact on the association between familial risk and MCL connectivity.
G × E in psychiatry may explain why environmental risk factors have big impact in some individuals but not in others, and conversely why relatives that are genetically at risk for disease do not all develop disease. Here we discuss two novel methods that use an aggregate genome-wide measure of genetic risk to detect G × E and estimate its effect in the population using data currently available and data we anticipate will be available in the near future. The first method exploits summary statistics from large-scale genome-wide association studies ignorant of the environmental conditions and detects G × E in an out-of-sample risk-profiling framework. The second method relies on larger samples and is based on a mixed linear model framework. It estimates variance explained directly from single nucleotide polymorphisms and environmental measures. Both methods have great potential to improve public health interventions focusing on risk-based screening that is informed by both genetic and environmental risk factors.
Previous studies have shown that genetic risk for externalizing (EXT) disorders is greater in the context of adverse family environments during adolescence, but it is unclear whether these effects are long lasting. The current study evaluated developmental changes in gene–environment interplay in the concurrent and prospective associations between parent–child relationship problems and EXT at ages 18 and 25 years.
The sample included 1382 twin pairs (48% male) from the Minnesota Twin Family Study, participating in assessments at ages 18 years (mean = 17.8, s.d. = 0.69 years) and 25 years (mean = 25.0, s.d. = 0.90 years). Perceptions of parent–child relationship problems were assessed using questionnaires. Structured interviews were used to assess symptoms of adult antisocial behavior and nicotine, alcohol and illicit drug dependence.
We detected a gene–environment interaction at age 18 years, such that the genetic influence on EXT was greater in the context of more parent–child relationship problems. This moderation effect was not present at age 25 years, nor did parent-relationship problems at age 18 years moderate genetic influence on EXT at age 25 years. Rather, common genetic influences accounted for this longitudinal association.
Gene–environment interaction evident in the relationship between adolescent parent–child relationship problems and EXT is both proximal and developmentally limited. Common genetic influence, rather than a gene–environment interaction, accounts for the long-term association between parent–child relationship problems at age 18 years and EXT at age 25 years. These results are consistent with a relatively pervasive importance of gene–environmental correlation in the transition from late adolescence to young adulthood.
In order to further understand why depressive symptoms are associated with negative goal appraisals, the present study examined the genetic and environmental correlations and interactions between depressive symptoms and career-related goal appraisals. A total of 1,240 Finnish twins aged 21–26 years completed a questionnaire containing items on the appraisal of their career goals along five dimensions: importance, progress, effort, strain, and self-efficacy. In the same questionnaire, the 10-item General Behavior Inventory assessed depressive symptoms. Structural equation modeling was used to evaluate the genetic and environmental correlations and gene–environment interactions between the career-goal appraisals and depressive symptoms. Associations were identified, and were attributed to environmental factors. Of the career-related goal appraisals, the shared environmental component was of a higher magnitude for the dimension of strain among the depressed compared with non-depressed subjects. The results indicate that the interplay between depressive symptoms and negative career-related goal appraisals is significantly affected by environmental factors, and thus possibly susceptible to targeted interventions.
The mechanisms by which childhood abuse and family history of suicidal behavior (FHS) lead to an increased risk of suicidal behavior are still unknown. Impulsive aggression may play an intermediate role. We investigated whether greater scores for aggression and impulsivity might be associated with the effects of FHS and/or childhood abuse on the severity of suicidal behavior.
We examined the scores of three scales measuring impulsive aggression in a sample of 696 suicide attempters. We compared the highest and lowest scores with regard to reports of childhood abuse and FHS using adjusted multinomial regression models. Genetic polymorphisms of the serotonergic system known to be associated with impulsive aggression were also analyzed.
Patients with high impulsive aggressive scores showed significant differences in sociodemographic, clinical and suicidal features compared with patients with low impulsive aggressive scores. Adjusted results showed that combinations of some types of childhood abuse and FHS, particularly emotional abuse and emotional neglect, are associated with high impulsivity and hostility scores. The SS genotype of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) was associated with high levels of impulsivity when the subjects reported emotional abuse [odds ratio (OR) 5.55, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.75–17.5] or physical abuse (OR 5.03, 95% CI 1.50–16.9) in their childhood.
Our results support the role of impulsive aggression as one of the links that may connect childhood abuse and FHS with severity of suicidal behavior.
As physical activity may modify the effect of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele on the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia, we tested for such a gene–environment interaction in a sample of general practice patients aged ⩾75 years.
Data were derived from follow-up waves I–IV of the longitudinal German study on Ageing, Cognition and Dementia in Primary Care Patients (AgeCoDe). The Kaplan–Meier survival method was used to estimate dementia- and AD-free survival times. Multivariable Cox regression was used to assess individual associations of APOE ε4 and physical activity with risk for dementia and AD, controlling for covariates. We tested for gene–environment interaction by calculating three indices of additive interaction.
Among the randomly selected sample of 6619 patients, 3327 (50.3%) individuals participated in the study at baseline and 2810 (42.5%) at follow-up I. Of the 2492 patients without dementia included at follow-up I, 278 developed dementia (184 AD) over the subsequent follow-up interval of 4.5 years. The presence of the APOE ε4 allele significantly increased and higher physical activity significantly decreased risk for dementia and AD. The co-presence of APOE ε4 with low physical activity was associated with higher risk for dementia and AD and shorter dementia- and AD-free survival time than the presence of APOE ε4 or low physical activity alone. Indices of interaction indicated no significant interaction between low physical activity and the APOE ε4 allele for general dementia risk, but a possible additive interaction for AD risk.
Physical activity even in late life may be effective in reducing conversion to dementia and AD or in delaying the onset of clinical manifestations. APOE ε4 carriers may particularly benefit from increasing physical activity with regard to their risk for AD.
Socioeconomic position, racial/ethnic minority status, and other characteristics of the macro-environment may be important moderators of genetic influence on a wide array of psychosocial outcomes. Designed to maximize representation of low socioeconomic status families and racial/ethnic minorities, the Texas Twin Project is an ongoing study of school-age twins (preschool through 12th grade) enrolled in public schools in the Austin, Texas and Houston, Texas metropolitan areas. School rosters are used to identify twin families from a target population with sizable populations of African American (18%), Hispanic/Latino (48%), and non-Hispanic White (27%) children and adolescents, over half of whom meet US guidelines for classification as economically disadvantaged. Initial efforts have focused on a large-scale, family-based survey study involving both parent and child reports of personality, psychopathology, physical health, academic interests, parent–child relationships, and aspects of the home environment. In addition, the Texas Twin Project is the basis for an in-laboratory study of adolescent decision-making, delinquency, and substance use. Future directions include geographic expansion of the sample to the entire state of Texas (with a population of over 25 million) and genotyping of participating twins.
Adolescent marijuana use is associated with increased risk for schizophrenia. We previously reported that marijuana misuse in conjunction with specific cannabinoid receptor 1 (CNR1) genetic variants (rs12720071-G-allele carriers) contributed to white-matter (WM) brain volume deficits in schizophrenia patients. In this study, we assessed the influence of another cannabinoid-related gene, mitogen-activated protein kinase 14 (MAPK14), and potential MAPK14–CNR1 gene–gene interactions in conferring brain volume abnormalities among schizophrenia patients with marijuana abuse/dependence. MAPK14 encodes a member of the MAPK family involved in diverse cellular processes, including CNR1-induced apoptosis.
We genotyped 235 schizophrenia patients on nine MAPK14 tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (tSNPs). Approximately one quarter of the sample had marijuana abuse or dependence. Differential effects of MAPK14 tSNPs on brain volumes across patients with versus without marijuana abuse/dependence were examined using ANCOVA.
Of the MAPK14 tSNPs, only rs12199654 had significant genotype effects and genotype × marijuana misuse interaction effects on WM volumes. rs12199654-A homozygotes with marijuana abuse/dependence had significantly smaller total cerebral and lobar WM volumes. The effects of MAPK14 rs12199654 on WM volume deficits remained significant even after controlling for the CNR1 rs12720071 genotype. There were significant main effects of the MAPK14 CNR1 diplotype and diplotype × marijuana interaction on WM brain volumes, with both genetic variants having additive contributions to WM volume deficits only in patients with marijuana misuse.
Given that CNR1-induced apoptosis is preceded by increased MAPK phosphorylation, our study suggests that potential MAPK14–CNR1 gene–gene interactions may mediate brain morphometric features in schizophrenia patients with heavy marijuana use.
Genes for depression may act by making individuals more sensitive to childhood trauma. Given that childhood adversity is a risk factor for adult psychosis and symptoms of depression and psychosis tend to cluster within individuals and families, the aim was to examine whether the association between childhood adversity and psychotic-like symptoms is moderated by genetic liability for depression. A secondary aim was to determine to what degree a depression-related increase in stress sensitivity or depressive symptoms themselves occasioned the moderating effect.
Female twins (n=508) completed both prospective and retrospective questionnaires regarding childhood adversity [the Symptom Checklist-90 – Revised (SCL-90-R) and SCID-I (psychotic symptoms)] and psychotic trait liability [the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE)]. Stress sensitivity was indexed by appraisals of event-related stress and negative affect (NA) in the flow of daily life, assessed with momentary assessment technology for five consecutive days. Multilevel regression analyses were used to examine moderation of childhood adversity by genetic liability for depression in the prediction of follow-up psychotic experiences.
The effect of childhood adversity was significantly moderated by genetic vulnerability for depression in the model of both follow-up psychotic experiences (SCL-90-R) and follow-up psychotic trait liability (CAPE). The moderation by genetic liability was mediated by depressive experience but not by stress sensitivity.
Genetic liability for depression may potentiate the pathway from childhood adversity to psychotic-like symptoms through dysfunctional emotional processing of anomalous experiences associated with childhood trauma.
To investigate genetic and lifestyle factors and their interactions on plasma homocysteine (Hcy) concentrations in the Boston Puerto Rican population.
Cross-sectional study. Plasma concentrations of Hcy, folate, vitamin B12 and pyridoxal phosphate were measured, and genetic polymorphisms were determined. Data on lifestyle factors were collected in interviews.
A population survey of health and nutritional measures.
A total of 994 Puerto Rican men and women residing in the Boston metropolitan area.
Smoking status was positively associated with plasma Hcy. Genetic polymorphisms MTHFR 677C→T, FOLH1 1561C→T, FOLH1 rs647370 and PCFT 928A→G interacted significantly with smoking for Hcy. MTHFR 1298A→C (P = 0·040) and PCFT 928A→G (P = 0·002) displayed significant interactions with alcohol intake in determining plasma Hcy. Subjects with PCFT928GG genotype had significantly higher plasma Hcy concentrations compared with carriers of the A allele (AA+AG; P = 0·030) among non-drinking subjects. When consuming alcohol, GG subjects had lower plasma Hcy levels compared with AA+AG subjects. Physical activity interacted significantly with MTR 2756A→G in determining plasma Hcy (P for interaction = 0·002). Smoking interacted with physical activity for plasma Hcy (P for interaction = 0·023).
Smoking and drinking were associated plasma Hcy concentrations. Genetic variants involved in folate metabolism further modify the effects of lifestyle on plasma Hcy.