Proof of concept: Molecular prediction of schizophrenia risk
Anna R. Docherty,
Daniel E Adkins,
Gemma T. Wallace,
Brien P Riley,
Aiden P Corvin,
F Anthony O’Neill,
Kenneth S Kendler,
Patrick F Sullivan,
Ayman H. Fanous,
Posted 30 Apr 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/129213
Posted 30 Apr 2017
Importance: Schizophrenia (SZ) has a complex, heterogeneous symptom presentation with limited established associations between biological markers and illness onset. Many (gene) molecular pathways (MPs) are enriched for SZ signal, but it is still unclear how these MPs, global PRS, major histocompatibility complex (MHC) complement component (C4) gene expression, and MHC loci might jointly contribute to SZ and its clinical presentation. It is also unclear whether sex or ancestry interacts with these metrics to increase risk in certain individuals. Objective: To examine multiple genetic metrics, sex, and their interactions as possible predictors of SZ risk. Genetic information could aid in the clinical prediction of risk, but it is still unclear which genetic metrics are most promising, and how sex interacts with genetic risk metrics. Design, Setting, and Participants: To examine molecular risk in a proof-of-concept study, we used the Wellcome Trust case-control cohort and classified cases as a function of 1) polygenic risk score (PRS) for both whole genome and for 345 implicated molecular pathways, 2) predicted C4 expression, 3) SZ-relevant MHC loci, 4) sex, and 5) ancestry. Main Outcomes and Measures: PRSs, C4 expression, SZ-relevant MHC loci, sex, and ancestry as joint risk factors for SZ. Results: Recursive partitioning yielded 15 molecular risk classes and retained as significant psychosis classifiers only sex, genome-wide SZ polygenic risk, and one MP PRS. Sex was the most robust classifier in a stepwise regression, and there was a significant interaction of sex with SZ PRS on case status, suggesting males have a lower polygenic risk threshold. By down-sampling case proportion to 1% and 1.4% population base rates in males and females, respectively, high-risk subtypes defined by this model had roughly a 52% odds of developing SZ (individuals with SZ PRS elevated by 2.6 SDs; incidence = 51.8%). Conclusions and Relevance: This proof-of-concept suggests that global SZ PRS, sex, and their interaction are robust predictors of risk and that males have a lower PRS threshold for onset. Implications for the integration of these metrics with psychometrically-identified risk are discussed.
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