Structural brain imaging studies offer clues about the effects of the shared genetic etiology among neuropsychiatric disorders

Mol Psychiatry. 2021 Jun;26(6):2101-2110. doi: 10.1038/s41380-020-01002-z. Epub 2021 Jan 17.

Abstract

Genomewide association studies have found significant genetic correlations among many neuropsychiatric disorders. In contrast, we know much less about the degree to which structural brain alterations are similar among disorders and, if so, the degree to which such similarities have a genetic etiology. From the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) consortium, we acquired standardized mean differences (SMDs) in regional brain volume and cortical thickness between cases and controls. We had data on 41 brain regions for: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), bipolar disorder (BD), epilepsy, major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and schizophrenia (SCZ). These data had been derived from 24,360 patients and 37,425 controls. The SMDs were significantly correlated between SCZ and BD, OCD, MDD, and ASD. MDD was positively correlated with BD and OCD. BD was positively correlated with OCD and negatively correlated with ADHD. These pairwise correlations among disorders were correlated with the corresponding pairwise correlations among disorders derived from genomewide association studies (r = 0.494). Our results show substantial similarities in sMRI phenotypes among neuropsychiatric disorders and suggest that these similarities are accounted for, in part, by corresponding similarities in common genetic variant architectures.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / genetics
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / genetics
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Neuroimaging