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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.
Grey matter (GM) reduction is a consistent observation in established late stages of schizophrenia, but patients in the untreated early stages of illness display an increase as well as a decrease in GM distribution relative to healthy controls (HC). The relative excess of GM may indicate putative compensatory responses, though to date its relevance is unclear.
343 first-episode treatment-naïve patients with schizophrenia (FES) and 342 HC were recruited. Multivariate source-based morphometry was performed to identify covarying ‘networks' of grey matter concentration (GMC). Neurocognitive scores using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) and symptom burden using the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale (PANSS) were obtained. Bivariate linear relationships between GMC and cognition/symptoms were studied.
Compared to healthy subjects, FES had prominently lower GMC in two components; the first consists of the anterior insula, inferior frontal gyrus, anterior cingulate and the second component with the superior temporal gyrus, precuneus, inferior/superior parietal lobule, cuneus, and lingual gyrus. Higher GMC was seen in adjacent areas of the middle and superior temporal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, inferior parietal cortex and putamen. Greater GMC of this component was associated with lower duration of untreated psychosis, less severe positive symptoms and better performance on cognitive tests.
In untreated stages of schizophrenia, both a distributed lower and higher GMC is observable. While the higher GMC is relatively modest, it occurs across frontoparietal, temporal and subcortical regions in association with reduced illness burden suggesting a compensatory role for higher GMC in the early stages of schizophrenia.
Contrasting the well-described effects of early intervention (EI) services for youth-onset psychosis, the potential benefits of the intervention for adult-onset psychosis are uncertain. This paper aims to examine the effectiveness of EI on functioning and symptomatic improvement in adult-onset psychosis, and the optimal duration of the intervention.
360 psychosis patients aged 26–55 years were randomized to receive either standard care (SC, n = 120), or case management for two (2-year EI, n = 120) or 4 years (4-year EI, n = 120) in a 4-year rater-masked, parallel-group, superiority, randomized controlled trial of treatment effectiveness (Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00919620). Primary (i.e. social and occupational functioning) and secondary outcomes (i.e. positive and negative symptoms, and quality of life) were assessed at baseline, 6-month, and yearly for 4 years.
Compared with SC, patients with 4-year EI had better Role Functioning Scale (RFS) immediate [interaction estimate = 0.008, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.001–0.014, p = 0.02] and extended social network (interaction estimate = 0.011, 95% CI = 0.004–0.018, p = 0.003) scores. Specifically, these improvements were observed in the first 2 years. Compared with the 2-year EI group, the 4-year EI group had better RFS total (p = 0.01), immediate (p = 0.01), and extended social network (p = 0.05) scores at the fourth year. Meanwhile, the 4-year (p = 0.02) and 2-year EI (p = 0.004) group had less severe symptoms than the SC group at the first year.
Specialized EI treatment for psychosis patients aged 26–55 should be provided for at least the initial 2 years of illness. Further treatment up to 4 years confers little benefits in this age range over the course of the study.
Depression and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are associated with each other but their relationship remains unclear. We aim to determine whether genetic predisposition to depression are causally linked to CVD [including coronary artery disease (CAD), myocardial infarction (MI), stroke and atrial fibrillation (AF)].
Using summary statistics from the largest genome-wide association studies (GWAS) or GWAS meta-analysis of depression (primary analysis: n = 500 199), broad depression (help-seeking behavior for problems with nerves, anxiety, tension or depression; secondary analysis: n = 322 580), CAD (n = 184 305), MI (n = 171 875), stroke (n = 446 696) and AF (n = 1 030 836), genetic correlation was tested between two depression phenotypes and CVD [MI, stroke and AF (not CAD as its correlation was previously confirmed)]. Causality was inferred between correlated traits by Mendelian Randomization analyses.
Both depression phenotypes were genetically correlated with MI (depression: rG = 0.169; p = 9.03 × 10−9; broad depression: rG = 0.123; p = 1 × 10−4) and AF (depression: rG = 0.112; p = 7.80 × 10−6; broad depression: rG = 0.126; p = 3.62 × 10−6). Genetically doubling the odds of depression was causally associated with increased risk of CAD (OR = 1.099; 95% CI 1.031–1.170; p = 0.004) and MI (OR = 1.146; 95% CI 1.070–1.228; p = 1.05 × 10−4). Adjustment for blood lipid levels/smoking status attenuated the causality between depression and CAD/MI. Null causal association was observed for CVD on depression. A similar pattern of results was observed in the secondary analysis for broad depression.
Genetic predisposition to depression may have positive causal roles on CAD/MI. Genetic susceptibility to self-awareness of mood problems may be a strong causal risk factor of CAD/MI. Blood lipid levels and smoking may potentially mediate the causal pathway. Prevention and early diagnosis of depression are important in the management of CAD/MI.
Little is known about long-term employment outcomes for patients with first-episode schizophrenia-spectrum (FES) disorders who received early intervention services.
We compared the 10-year employment trajectory of patients with FES who received early intervention services with those who received standard care. Factors differentiating the employment trajectories were explored.
Patients with FES (N = 145) who received early intervention services in Hong Kong between 1 July 2001 and 30 June 2002 were matched with those who entered standard care 1 year previously. We used hierarchical clustering analysis to explore the 10-year employment clusters for both groups. We used the mixed model test to compare cluster memberships and piecewise regression analysis to compare the employment trajectories of the two groups.
There were significantly more patients who received the early intervention service in the good employment cluster (early intervention: N = 98 [67.6%]; standard care: N = 76 [52.4%]; P = 0.009). In the poor employment cluster, there was a significant difference in the longitudinal pattern between early intervention and standard care for years 1–5 (P < 0.0001). The number of relapses during the first 3 years, months of full-time employment during the first year and years of education were significant in differentiating the clusters of the early intervention group.
Results suggest there was an overall long-term benefit of early intervention services on employment. However, the benefit was not sustained for all patients. Personalisation of the duration of the early intervention service with a focus on relapse prevention and early vocational reintegration should be considered for service enhancement.
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.
Although relapse in psychosis is common, a small proportion of patients will not relapse in the long term. We examined the proportion and predictors of patients who never relapsed in the 10 years following complete resolution of positive symptoms from their first psychotic episode.
Patients who previously enrolled in a 12-month randomized controlled trial on medication discontinuation and relapse following first-episode psychosis (FEP) were followed up after 10 years. Relapse of positive symptoms was operationalized as a change from a Clinical Global Impression scale positive score of <3 for at least 3 consecutive months to a score of ⩾3 (mild or more severe). Baseline predictors included basic demographics, premorbid functioning, symptoms, functioning, and neurocognitive functioning.
Out of 178 first-episode patients, 37 (21%) never relapsed during the 10-year period. Univariate predictors (p ⩽ 0.1) of patients who never relapsed included a duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) ⩽30 days, diagnosed with non-schizophrenia spectrum disorders, having less severe negative symptoms, and performing better in logical memory immediate recall and verbal fluency tests. A multivariate logistic regression analysis further suggested that the absence of any relapsing episodes was significantly related to better short-term verbal memory, shorter DUP, and non-schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
Treatment delay and neurocognitive function are potentially modifiable predictors of good long-term prognosis in FEP. These predictors are informative as they can be incorporated into an optimum risk prediction model in the future, which would help with clinical decision making regarding maintenance treatment in FEP.
Cardiovascular diseases represent a major health issue in patients with schizophrenia (SCZ) and bipolar disorder (BD), but the exact nature of cardiometabolic (CM) abnormalities involved and the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Psychiatric medications are known risk factors, but it is unclear whether there is a connection between the disorders (SCZ/BD) themselves and CM abnormalities.
Using polygenic risk scores and linkage disequilibrium score regression, we investigated the shared genetic bases of SCZ and BD with 28 CM traits. We performed Mendelian randomization (MR) to elucidate causal relationships between the two groups of disorders. The analysis was based on large-scale meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies. We also identified the potential shared genetic variants and inferred the pathways involved.
We found tentative polygenic associations of SCZ with glucose metabolism abnormalities, adverse adipokine profiles, increased waist-to-hip ratio and visceral adiposity (false discovery rate or FDR<0.05). However, there was an inverse association with body mass index. For BD, we observed several polygenic associations with favorable CM profiles at FDR<0.05. MR analysis showed that SCZ may be causally linked to raised triglyceride and that lower fasting glucose may be linked to BD. We also identified numerous single nucleotide polymorphisms and pathways shared between SCZ/BD with CM traits, some of which are related to inflammation or the immune system.
Our findings suggest that SCZ patients may be genetically predisposed to several CM abnormalities independent of medication side effects. On the other hand, CM abnormalities in BD may be more likely to be secondary. However, the findings require further validation.
Anxiety disorders are prevalent yet under-recognized in late life. We examined the prevalence of anxiety disorders in a representative sample of community dwelling older adults in Hong Kong.
Data on 1,158 non-demented respondents aged 60–75 years were extracted from the Hong Kong Mental Morbidity survey (HKMMS). Anxiety was assessed with the revised Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS-R).
One hundred and thirty-seven respondents (11.9%, 95% CI = 10–13.7%) had common mental disorders with a CIS-R score of 12 or above. 8% (95% CI = 6.5–9.6%) had anxiety, 2.2% (95% CI = 1.3–3%) had an anxiety disorder comorbid with depressive disorder, and 1.7% (95% CI = 1–2.5%) had depression. Anxious individuals were more likely to be females (χ2 = 25.3, p < 0.001), had higher chronic physical burden (t = −9.3, p < 0.001), lower SF-12 physical functioning score (t = 9.2, p < 0.001), and poorer delayed recall (t = 2.3, p = 0.022). The risk of anxiety was higher for females (OR 2.8, 95% C.I. 1.7–4.6, p < 0.001) and those with physical illnesses (OR 1.4, 95% C.I. 1.3–1.6, p < 0.001). The risk of anxiety disorders increased in those with disorders of cardiovascular (OR 1.9, 95% C.I. 1.2–2.9, p = 0.003), musculoskeletal (OR 2.0, 95% C.I. 1.5–2.7, p < 0.001), and genitourinary system (OR 2.0, 95% C.I. 1.3–3.2, p = 0.002).
The prevalence of anxiety disorders in Hong Kong older population was 8%. Female gender and those with poor physical health were at a greater risk of developing anxiety disorders. Our findings also suggested potential risk for early sign of memory impairment in cognitively healthy individuals with anxiety disorders.
Although a genetic component in schizophrenia is well established, it is likely that the contribution of genetic factors is not constant for all cases. Several recent studies have found that the relatives of female or early onset schizophrenic patients have an increased risk of schizophrenia, compared to relatives of male or late onset cases. These hypotheses are tested in the current study.
A family study design was employed; the probands were 195 patients with functional psychosis admitted to three south London hospitals, diagnosed using Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC), and assessed using the Present State Examination (PSE). Information on their relatives was obtained by personal interview of the mother of the proband, and from medical records. Psychiatric diagnoses were made using Family History – Research Diagnostic Criteria (FH-RDC), blind to proband information.
There was a tendency for homotypia in the form of psychosis within families. The lifetime risk of schizophrenia in the first degree relatives of schizophrenic probands, and the risk of bipolar disorder in the first degree relatives of bipolar probands, were 5–10 times higher than reported population risks. Relatives of female and early onset (<22 years) schizophrenic probands had higher risk of schizophrenia than relatives of male and late onset schizophrenic probands. However, this effect was compensated in part by an excess of non-schizophrenic psychoses in the relatives of male probands.
These results suggest a high familial, possibly genetic, loading in female and early onset schizophrenia, but do not resolve the question of heterogeneity within schizophrenia.
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