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Genome-wide association analysis reveals extensive genetic overlap between mood instability and psychiatric disorders but divergent patterns of genetic effects

By Guy Hindley, Kevin S. O'Connell, Zillur Rahman, Oleksandr Frei, Shahram Bahrami, Alexey A. Shadrin, Margrethe Collier Hoegh, Weiqiu Cheng, Naz Karadag, Aihua Lin, Linn Rodevand, Chun Chieh Fan, Srdjan Djurovic, Trine Vik Lagerberg, Anders Dale, Olav B. Smeland, Ole A. Andreassen

Posted 19 Jul 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.07.16.21260608

Mood instability (MOOD) is a transdiagnostic phenomenon with a prominent neurobiological basis. Recent genome-wide association studies found significant positive genetic correlation between MOOD and major depression (DEP) and weak correlations with other psychiatric disorders. We investigated the polygenic overlap between MOOD and psychiatric disorders beyond genetic correlation to better characterize putative shared genetic determinants. Summary statistics for schizophrenia (SCZ, n=105,318), bipolar disorder (BIP, n=413,466), DEP (n=450,619), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, n=53,293) and MOOD (n=363,705), were analysed using the bivariate causal mixture model and conjunctional false discovery rate methods to estimate the proportion of shared variants influencing MOOD and each disorder, and identify jointly associated genomic loci. MOOD correlated positively with all psychiatric disorders, but with wide variation in strength (rg=0.10-0.62). Of 10.4K genomic variants influencing MOOD, 4K-9.4K were estimated to influence psychiatric disorders. MOOD was jointly associated with DEP at 163 loci, SCZ at 110, BIP at 60 and ADHD at 25, with consistent genetic effects in independent samples. Fifty-three jointly associated loci were overlapping across two or more disorders (transdiagnostic), seven of which had discordant effect directions on psychiatric disorders. Genes mapped to loci associated with MOOD and all four disorders were enriched in a single gene-set, synapse organization. The extensive polygenic overlap indicates shared molecular underpinnings across MOOD and psychiatric disorders. However, distinct patterns of genetic correlation and effect directions of shared loci suggest divergent effects on corresponding neurobiological mechanisms which may relate to differences in the core clinical features of each disorder.

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