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Researchers have identified genetic and neural risk factors for externalizing behaviors. However, it has not yet been determined if genetic liability is conferred in part through associations with more proximal neurophysiological risk markers.
Participants from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism, a large, family-based study of alcohol use disorders were genotyped and polygenic scores for externalizing (EXT PGS) were calculated. Associations with target P3 amplitude from a visual oddball task (P3) and broad endorsement of externalizing behaviors (indexed via self-report of alcohol and cannabis use, and antisocial behavior) were assessed in participants of European (EA; N = 2851) and African ancestry (AA; N = 1402). Analyses were also stratified by age (adolescents, age 12–17 and young adults, age 18–32).
The EXT PGS was significantly associated with higher levels of externalizing behaviors among EA adolescents and young adults as well as AA young adults. P3 was inversely associated with externalizing behaviors among EA young adults. EXT PGS was not significantly associated with P3 amplitude and therefore, there was no evidence that P3 amplitude indirectly accounted for the association between EXT PGS and externalizing behaviors.
Both the EXT PGS and P3 amplitude were significantly associated with externalizing behaviors among EA young adults. However, these associations with externalizing behaviors appear to be independent of each other, suggesting that they may index different facets of externalizing.
Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
Disorders of behavior represent some of the most common and disabling diseases affecting humankind; however, despite their worldwide distribution, genetic influences on these illnesses are often overlooked by families and mental health professionals. Psychiatric genetics is a rapidly advancing field, elucidating the varied roles of specific genes and their interactions in brain development and dysregulation. Principles of Psychiatric Genetics includes 22 disorder-based chapters covering, amongst other conditions, schizophrenia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, Alzheimer's disease, learning and developmental disorders, eating disorders and personality disorders. Supporting chapters focus on issues of genetic epidemiology, molecular and statistical methods, pharmacogenetics, epigenetics, gene expression studies, online genetic databases and ethical issues. Written by an international team of contributors, and fully updated with the latest results from genome-wide association studies, this comprehensive text is an indispensable reference for psychiatrists, neurologists, psychologists and anyone involved in psychiatric genetic studies.
Levels of vasopressin, somatostatin, neurotensin, vasoactive intestinal peptide, corticotrophin-releasing factor and adrenocorticotrophin in CSF were determined in lithium-treated and unmedicated euthymic bipolar patients and controls, in a search for a trait marker in affective disorder. No group differences in levels of these peptides were found. Highly significant positive correlations were found among these peptides (with the exception of neurotensin), suggesting that their presence in CSF is functionally significant, as opposed to the result of random diffusion from the interstitial space of the brain.
CSF and plasma GABA was measured in patients with bipolar affective illness and matched controls. There was no correlation between CSF and plasma GABA in 10 pairs of simultaneously obtained samples. Plasma GABA was significantly lower in a group of 10 euthymic medication-free bipolar patients compared to 41 normal volunteers (P <.02). This finding was replicated in a second study involving 6 patients and 10 normal volunteers. Twin studies showed a high correlation between members of 11 monozygotic twin pairs (P <.008). Diurnal variation was minimal, but bimonthly sampling over one year revealed somewhat higher values in the late summer compared to late winter.
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