Polygenic pleiotropy and potential causal relationships between educational attainment, neurobiological profile, and positive psychotic symptoms

Yen Feng Lin, Chia Yen Chen, Dost Öngür, Rebecca Betensky, Jordan W. Smoller, Deborah Blacker, Mei Hua Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Event-related potential (ERP) components have been used to assess cognitive functions in patients with psychotic illness. Evidence suggests that among patients with psychosis there is a distinct heritable neurophysiologic phenotypic subtype captured by impairments across a range of ERP measures. In this study, we investigated the genetic basis of this "globally impaired" ERP cluster and its relationship to psychosis and cognitive abilities. We applied K-means clustering to six ERP measures to re-derive the globally impaired (n = 60) and the non-globally impaired ERP clusters (n = 323) in a sample of cases with schizophrenia (SCZ = 136) or bipolar disorder (BPD = 121) and healthy controls (n = 126). We used genome-wide association study (GWAS) results for SCZ, BPD, college completion, and childhood intelligence as the discovery datasets to derive polygenic risk scores (PRS) in our study sample and tested their associations with globally impaired ERP. We conducted mediation analyses to estimate the proportion of each PRS effect on severity of psychotic symptoms that is mediated through membership in the globally impaired ERP. Individuals with globally impaired ERP had significantly higher PANSS-positive scores (β = 3.95, P = 0.005). The SCZ-PRS was nominally associated with globally impaired ERP (unadjusted P = 0.01; R 2 = 3.07%). We also found a significant positive association between the college-PRS and globally impaired ERP (FDR-corrected P = 0.004; R 2 = 6.15%). The effect of college-PRS on PANSS positivity was almost entirely (97.1%) mediated through globally impaired ERP. These results suggest that the globally impaired ERP phenotype may represent some aspects of brain physiology on the path between genetic influences on educational attainment and psychotic symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number97
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry

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