Neuroinformatic analyses of common and distinct genetic components associated with major neuropsychiatric disorders

Front Neurosci. 2014 Nov 6;8:331. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2014.00331. eCollection 2014.


Major neuropsychiatric disorders are highly heritable, with mounting evidence suggesting that these disorders share overlapping sets of molecular and cellular underpinnings. In the current article we systematically test the degree of genetic commonality across six major neuropsychiatric disorders-attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorders (Anx), autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and schizophrenia (SCZ). We curated a well-vetted list of genes based on large-scale human genetic studies based on the NHGRI catalog of published genome-wide association studies (GWAS). A total of 180 genes were accepted into the analysis on the basis of low but liberal GWAS p-values (<10(-5)). 22% of genes overlapped two or more disorders. The most widely shared subset of genes-common to five of six disorders-included ANK3, AS3MT, CACNA1C, CACNB2, CNNM2, CSMD1, DPCR1, ITIH3, NT5C2, PPP1R11, SYNE1, TCF4, TENM4, TRIM26, and ZNRD1. Using a suite of neuroinformatic resources, we showed that many of the shared genes are implicated in the postsynaptic density (PSD), expressed in immune tissues and co-expressed in developing human brain. Using a translational cross-species approach, we detected two distinct genetic components that were both shared by each of the six disorders; the 1st component is involved in CNS development, neural projections and synaptic transmission, while the 2nd is implicated in various cytoplasmic organelles and cellular processes. Combined, these genetic components account for 20-30% of the genetic load. The remaining risk is conferred by distinct, disorder-specific variants. Our systematic comparative analysis of shared and unique genetic factors highlights key gene sets and molecular processes that may ultimately translate into improved diagnosis and treatment of these debilitating disorders.

Keywords: cross-species; enrichment; genetic components; genome wide association studies; major neuropsychiatric disorders; neuroinformatics; translational.