Genome-wide Association Analysis of Schizophrenia and Vitamin D Levels Shows Shared Genetic Architecture and Identifies Novel Risk Loci

Schizophr Bull. 2023 Nov 29;49(6):1654-1664. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbad063.


Low vitamin D (vitD) levels have been consistently reported in schizophrenia (SCZ) suggesting a role in the etiopathology. However, little is known about the role of underlying shared genetic mechanisms. We applied a conditional/conjunctional false discovery rate approach (FDR) on large, nonoverlapping genome-wide association studies for SCZ (N cases = 53 386, N controls = 77 258) and vitD serum concentration (N = 417 580) to evaluate shared common genetic variants. The identified genomic loci were characterized using functional analyses and biological repositories. We observed cross-trait SNP enrichment in SCZ conditioned on vitD and vice versa, demonstrating shared genetic architecture. Applying the conjunctional FDR approach, we identified 72 loci jointly associated with SCZ and vitD at conjunctional FDR < 0.05. Among the 72 shared loci, 40 loci have not previously been reported for vitD, and 9 were novel for SCZ. Further, 64% had discordant effects on SCZ-risk and vitD levels. A mixture of shared variants with concordant and discordant effects with a predominance of discordant effects was in line with weak negative genetic correlation (rg = -0.085). Our results displayed shared genetic architecture between SCZ and vitD with mixed effect directions, suggesting overlapping biological pathways. Shared genetic variants with complex overlapping mechanisms may contribute to the coexistence of SCZ and vitD deficiency and influence the clinical picture.

Keywords: GWAS; conditional; conjunctional false discovery rate; genetic overlap; polygenic architecture.

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Loci
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genome-Wide Association Study* / methods
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Schizophrenia* / genetics
  • Vitamin D / genetics


  • Vitamin D