Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) has been implicated in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disease, with research highlighting a role for TNFα in hippocampal and striatal regulation. TNFα signals are primarily transduced by TNF receptors 1 and 2 (TNFR1 and TNFR2), encoded by TNFRSF1A and TNFRSF1B, which exert opposing effects on cell survival (TNFR1, neurodegenerative; TNFR2, neuroprotective). We therefore sought to explore the respective roles of TNFR1 and TNFR2 in the regulation of hippocampal and striatal morphology in an imaging genetics study. Voxel-based morphometry was used to analyse the associations between TNFRSF1A (rs4149576 and rs4149577) and TNFRSF1B (rs1061624) genotypes and grey matter structure. The final samples comprised a total of 505 subjects (mean age = 33.29, SD = 11.55 years; 285 females and 220 males) for morphometric analyses of rs1061624 and rs4149576, and 493 subjects for rs4149577 (mean age = 33.20, SD = 11.56 years; 281 females and 212 males). Analyses of TNFRSF1A single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs4149576 and rs4149577 showed highly significant genotypic associations with striatal volume but not the hippocampus. Specifically, for rs4149576, G homozygotes were associated with reduced caudate nucleus volumes relative to A homozygotes and heterozygotes, whereas for rs4149577, reduced caudate volumes were observed in C homozygotes relative to T homozygotes and heterozygotes. Analysis of the TNFRSF1B SNP rs1061624 yielded a significant association with hippocampal but not with striatal volume, whereby G homozygotes were associated with increased volumes relative to A homozygotes and heterozygotes. Our findings indicate a role for TNFR1 in regulating striatal but not hippocampal morphology, as well as a complementary role for TNFR2 in hippocampal but not in striatal morphology.
Keywords: Hippocampus; TNF receptor; imaging genetics; neuroinflammation; striatum.
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society.