While the recurrent 22q11.2 deletion is one of the strongest genetic risk factors for schizophrenia (SCZ), variability of its associated neuropsychiatric endophenotypes reflects its incomplete penetrance for psychosis development. To assess whether this phenotypic variability is linked to common variants associated with SCZ, we studied the association between SCZ polygenic risk score (PRS) and longitudinally acquired phenotypic information of the Swiss 22q11.2DS cohort (n = 97, 50% females, mean age 17.7 yr, mean visit interval 3.8 yr). The SCZ PRS with the best predictive performance was ascertained in the Estonian Biobank (n = 201,146) with LDpred. The infinitesimal SCZ PRS model showed the strongest capacity in discriminating SCZ cases from controls with one SD difference in SCZ PRS corresponding to an odds ratio (OR) of 1.73 (95% CI 1.57-1.90, P = 1.47 × 10-29). In 22q11.2 patients, random-effects ordinal regression modelling using longitudinal data showed SCZ PRS to have the strongest effect on social anhedonia (OR = 2.09, P = 0.0002), and occupational functioning (OR = 1.82, P = 0.0003) within the negative symptoms course, and dysphoric mood (OR = 2.00, P = 0.002) and stress intolerance (OR = 1.76, P = 0.0002) within the general symptoms course. Genetic liability for SCZ was additionally associated with full scale cognitive decline (β = -0.25, P = 0.02) and with longitudinal volumetric reduction of the right and left hippocampi (β = -0.28, P = 0.005; β = -0.23, P = 0.02, respectively). Our results indicate that the polygenic contribution to SCZ acts upon the threshold-lowering first hit (i.e., the deletion). It modifies the endophenotypes of 22q11.2DS and augments the derailment of developmental trajectories of negative and general symptoms, cognition, and hippocampal volume.
© 2022. The Author(s).