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Case-only longitudinal studies are common in psychiatry. Further, it is assumed that psychiatric ratings and questionnaire results of healthy controls stay stable over foreseeable time ranges. For cognitive tests, improvements over time are expected, but data for more than two administrations are scarce.
We comprehensively investigated the longitudinal course for trends over time in cognitive and symptom measurements for severe mental disorders. Assessments included the Trail Making Tests, verbal Digit Span tests, Global Assessment of Functioning, Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology, the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, and the Young Mania Rating Scale, among others.
Using the data of control individuals (n = 326) from the PsyCourse study who had up to four assessments over 18 months, we modelled the course using linear mixed models or logistic regression. The slopes or odds ratios were estimated and adjusted for age and gender. We also assessed the robustness of these results using a longitudinal non-parametric test in a sensitivity analysis.
Small effects were detected for most cognitive tests, indicating a performance improvement over time (P < 0.05). However, for most of the symptom rating scales and questionnaires, no effects were detected, in line with our initial hypothesis.
The slightly but consistently improved performance in the cognitive tests speaks of a test-unspecific positive trend, while psychiatric ratings and questionnaire results remain stable over the observed period. These detectable improvements need to be considered when interpreting longitudinal courses. We therefore recommend recruiting control participants if cognitive tests are administered.
Response to lithium in patients with bipolar disorder is associated with clinical and transdiagnostic genetic factors. The predictive combination of these variables might help clinicians better predict which patients will respond to lithium treatment.
To use a combination of transdiagnostic genetic and clinical factors to predict lithium response in patients with bipolar disorder.
This study utilised genetic and clinical data (n = 1034) collected as part of the International Consortium on Lithium Genetics (ConLi+Gen) project. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were computed for schizophrenia and major depressive disorder, and then combined with clinical variables using a cross-validated machine-learning regression approach. Unimodal, multimodal and genetically stratified models were trained and validated using ridge, elastic net and random forest regression on 692 patients with bipolar disorder from ten study sites using leave-site-out cross-validation. All models were then tested on an independent test set of 342 patients. The best performing models were then tested in a classification framework.
The best performing linear model explained 5.1% (P = 0.0001) of variance in lithium response and was composed of clinical variables, PRS variables and interaction terms between them. The best performing non-linear model used only clinical variables and explained 8.1% (P = 0.0001) of variance in lithium response. A priori genomic stratification improved non-linear model performance to 13.7% (P = 0.0001) and improved the binary classification of lithium response. This model stratified patients based on their meta-polygenic loadings for major depressive disorder and schizophrenia and was then trained using clinical data.
Using PRS to first stratify patients genetically and then train machine-learning models with clinical predictors led to large improvements in lithium response prediction. When used with other PRS and biological markers in the future this approach may help inform which patients are most likely to respond to lithium treatment.
To date, besides genome-wide association studies, a variety of other genetic analyses (e.g. polygenic risk scores, whole-exome sequencing and whole-genome sequencing) have been conducted, and a large amount of data has been gathered for investigating the involvement of common, rare and very rare types of DNA sequence variants in bipolar disorder. Also, non-invasive neuroimaging methods can be used to quantify changes in brain structure and function in patients with bipolar disorder.
To provide a comprehensive assessment of genetic findings associated with bipolar disorder, based on the evaluation of different genomic approaches and neuroimaging studies.
We conducted a PubMed search of all relevant literatures from the beginning to the present, by querying related search strings.
ANK3, CACNA1C, SYNE1, ODZ4 and TRANK1 are five genes that have been replicated as key gene candidates in bipolar disorder pathophysiology, through the investigated studies. The percentage of phenotypic variance explained by the identified variants is small (approximately 4.7%). Bipolar disorder polygenic risk scores are associated with other psychiatric phenotypes. The ENIGMA-BD studies show a replicable pattern of lower cortical thickness, altered white matter integrity and smaller subcortical volumes in bipolar disorder.
The low amount of explained phenotypic variance highlights the need for further large-scale investigations, especially among non-European populations, to achieve a more complete understanding of the genetic architecture of bipolar disorder and the missing heritability. Combining neuroimaging data with genetic data in large-scale studies might help researchers acquire a better knowledge of the engaged brain regions in bipolar disorder.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, with its impact on our way of life, is affecting our experiences and mental health. Notably, individuals with mental disorders have been reported to have a higher risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2. Personality traits could represent an important determinant of preventative health behaviour and, therefore, the risk of contracting the virus.
We examined overlapping genetic underpinnings between major psychiatric disorders, personality traits and susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Linkage disequilibrium score regression was used to explore the genetic correlations of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) susceptibility with psychiatric disorders and personality traits based on data from the largest available respective genome-wide association studies (GWAS). In two cohorts (the PsyCourse (n = 1346) and the HeiDE (n = 3266) study), polygenic risk scores were used to analyse if a genetic association between, psychiatric disorders, personality traits and COVID-19 susceptibility exists in individual-level data.
We observed no significant genetic correlations of COVID-19 susceptibility with psychiatric disorders. For personality traits, there was a significant genetic correlation for COVID-19 susceptibility with extraversion (P = 1.47 × 10−5; genetic correlation 0.284). Yet, this was not reflected in individual-level data from the PsyCourse and HeiDE studies.
We identified no significant correlation between genetic risk factors for severe psychiatric disorders and genetic risk for COVID-19 susceptibility. Among the personality traits, extraversion showed evidence for a positive genetic association with COVID-19 susceptibility, in one but not in another setting. Overall, these findings highlight a complex contribution of genetic and non-genetic components in the interaction between COVID-19 susceptibility and personality traits or mental disorders.
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.
Previous work suggests that reaction time variability (RTV) in attentional tasks, as a measure of cognitive stability, is associated with degree of Val loading in COMT Val158Met genotype, and that this association may be relevant for the aetiology of schizophrenia. This study examined (i) to what degree RTV pertaining to tasks of varying cognitive complexity would be associated with increased risk for schizophrenia and (ii) to what degree this would be mediated by Val loading.
COMT genotyping was investigated in a sample of 23 patients with schizophrenia, 33 first-degree relatives, and 21 controls. All participants performed the Flanker continuous performance test.
Schizophrenia liability was associated with number of correct trials of the Flanker test, but not with RTV, and this association was not mediated by COMT Val158Met genotype. Similarly, Met loading was associated with number of correct trials and with RTV, but this was not mediated by schizophrenia liability.
Associations between COMT Val158Met genotype and RTV do not appear to reflect transmission of schizophrenia liability in families. Differential associations with Val and Met alleles across studies suggest indirect effects through gene–gene interactions or the influence of a functional polymorphism near COMT Val158Met.
Psychotic patients with COMTVal158Met Met alleles were recently found to display more intense psychotic and affective responses to daily life stressors. We aimed to test the hypothesis that the Met allele is implicated in the development of affective and psychotic symptomatology in subjects genetically at risk for schizophrenia, by testing if unaffected first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia who share a Met allele have greater concordance of symptomatology than relatives not sharing a Met allele.
Unaffected relatives (n = 38) were arranged in as many genetically related pairs as possible (n = 26), and Met-sharing between Index Unaffected Subject (IUS) and Related Unaffected Subject (RUS) was assessed. Symptomatology was assessed with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) total score.
Multilevel regression revealed an interaction between RUS BPRS score and Met-sharing in the model of IUS BPRS score (interaction χ2 = 3.78, p = 0.05). Stratified analyses revealed that IUS–RUS total BPRS scores were significantly associated in the case of Met-sharing (B = 0.57, 95% CI: 0.22–0.93, p = 0.002), but were not when there was no Met-sharing.
These findings support the hypothesis that the Met allele may be involved in the causation of psychopathology, at least in populations with a genetic predisposition to psychosis.
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