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Brain transcriptome-wide association study implicates novel risk genes underlying schizophrenia risk
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 April 2023
To identify risk genes whose expression are regulated by the reported risk variants and to explore the potential regulatory mechanism in schizophrenia (SCZ).
We systematically integrated three independent brain expression quantitative traits (eQTLs) (CommonMind, GTEx, and BrainSeq Phase 2, a total of 1039 individuals) and GWAS data (56 418 cases and 78 818 controls), with the use of transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS). Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging was utilized to quantify the integrity of white matter bundles and determine whether polygenic risk of novel genes linked to brain structure was present in patients with first-episode antipsychotic SCZ.
TWAS showed that eight risk genes (CORO7, DDAH2, DDHD2, ELAC2, GLT8D1, PCDHA8, THOC7, and TYW5) reached transcriptome-wide significance (TWS) level. These findings were confirmed by an independent integrative approach (i.e. Sherlock). We further conducted conditional analyses and identified the potential risk genes that driven the TWAS association signal in each locus. Gene expression analysis showed that several TWS genes (including CORO7, DDAH2, DDHD2, ELAC2, GLT8D1, THOC7 and TYW5) were dysregulated in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of SCZ cases compared with controls. TWS genes were mainly expressed on the surface of glutamatergic neurons, GABAergic neurons, and microglia. Finally, SCZ cases had a substantially greater TWS genes-based polygenic risk (PRS) compared to controls, and we showed that fractional anisotropy of the cingulum-hippocampus mediates the influence of TWS genes PRS on SCZ.
Our findings identified novel SCZ risk genes and highlighted the importance of the TWS genes in frontal-limbic dysfunctions in SCZ, indicating possible therapeutic targets.
- Original Article
- Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press