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Association Between Genetically Elevated Levels Of Inflammatory Biomarkers And Risk Of Schizophrenia: A Two-Sample Mendelian Randomisation Study

By Fernando Pires Hartwig, Maria Carolina Borges, Bernardo Lessa Horta, Jack Bowden, George Davey Smith

Posted 10 Apr 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/123976

Background: Positive associations between inflammatory biomarkers and risk of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, have been reported in observational studies. However, conventional observational studies are prone to bias such as reverse causation and residual confounding. Methods: In this study, we used summary data to evaluate the association of genetically elevated C reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) and soluble interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R) levels with schizophrenia in a two-sample Mendelian randomisation design. Results: The pooled odds ratio estimate using 18 CRP genetic instruments was 0.90 (95% CI: 0.84; 0.97) per two-fold increment in CRP levels; consistent results were obtained using different Mendelian randomisation methods and a more conservative set of instruments. The odds ratio for soluble IL-6R was 1.06 (95% CI: 1.01; 1.12) per two-fold increment. Estimates for IL-1Ra were inconsistent among instruments and pooled estimates were imprecise and centred on the null. Conclusion: Under Mendelian randomisation assumptions, our findings suggest a protective causal effect of CRP and a risk-increasing causal effect of soluble IL-6R (potentially mediated at least in part by CRP) on schizophrenia risk.

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