GeneAnalytics Pathway Analysis and Genetic Overlap among Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia

Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Feb 28;18(3):527. doi: 10.3390/ijms18030527.


Bipolar disorder (BPD) and schizophrenia (SCH) show similar neuropsychiatric behavioral disturbances, including impaired social interaction and communication, seen in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with multiple overlapping genetic and environmental influences implicated in risk and course of illness. GeneAnalytics software was used for pathway analysis and genetic profiling to characterize common susceptibility genes obtained from published lists for ASD (792 genes), BPD (290 genes) and SCH (560 genes). Rank scores were derived from the number and nature of overlapping genes, gene-disease association, tissue specificity and gene functions subdivided into categories (e.g., diseases, tissues or functional pathways). Twenty-three genes were common to all three disorders and mapped to nine biological Superpathways including Circadian entrainment (10 genes, score = 37.0), Amphetamine addiction (five genes, score = 24.2), and Sudden infant death syndrome (six genes, score = 24.1). Brain tissues included the medulla oblongata (11 genes, score = 2.1), thalamus (10 genes, score = 2.0) and hypothalamus (nine genes, score = 2.0) with six common genes (BDNF, DRD2, CHRNA7, HTR2A, SLC6A3, and TPH2). Overlapping genes impacted dopamine and serotonin homeostasis and signal transduction pathways, impacting mood, behavior and physical activity level. Converging effects on pathways governing circadian rhythms support a core etiological relationship between neuropsychiatric illnesses and sleep disruption with hypoxia and central brain stem dysfunction.

Keywords: GeneAnalytics molecular pathway analysis; circadian entrainment; genetic profiling; mental illness.

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / genetics*
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / genetics*
  • Circadian Clocks / genetics
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Genetic Association Studies*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Organ Specificity / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / genetics*