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Genetic meta-analysis of obsessive-compulsive disorder and self-report compulsive symptoms.

By Dirk J.A. Smit, Danielle Cath, Nuno R Zilhão, Hill F. Ip, Damiaan Denys, Anouk den Braber, Eco JC de Geus, Karin JH Verweij, Jouke-Jan Hottenga, Dorret I Boomsma

Posted 30 Sep 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/785311 (published DOI: 10.1002/ajmg.b.32777)

We investigated whether obsessive compulsive (OC) symptoms from a population-based sample could be analyzed to detect genetic variants influencing OCD. We performed a GWAS on the obsession (rumination and impulsions) and compulsion (checking, washing, and ordering/precision) subscales of an abbreviated version of the Padua Inventory (N=8267 with genome-wide genotyping and phenotyping). The compulsion subscale showed a substantial and significant positive genetic correlation with an OCD case-control GWAS (rG=0.61, p=0.017) previously published by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC-OCD). The obsession subscale and the total Padua score showed no significant genetic correlations (rG=-0.02 and rG=0.42, respectively). A meta-analysis of the compulsive symptoms GWAS with the PGC-OCD revealed no genome-wide significant SNPs (combined N=17992, indicating that the power is still low for individual SNP effects). A gene-based association analysis, however, yielded two novel genes (WDR7 and ADCK1). The top 250 genes in the gene-based test also showed significant increase in enrichment for psychiatric and brain-expressed genes. S-Predixcan testing showed that for genes expressed in hippocampus, amygdala, and caudate nucleus significance increased in the meta-analysis with compulsive symptoms compared to the original PGC-OCD GWAS. Thus, inclusion of dimensional symptom data in genome-wide association on clinical case-control GWAS of OCD may be useful to find genes for OCD if the data are based on quantitative indices of compulsive behavior. SNP-level power increases were limited, but aggregate, gene-level analyses showed increased enrichment for brain-expressed genes related to psychiatric disorders, and increased association with gene-expression in brain tissues with known emotional, reward processing, memory, and fear-formation functions.

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