University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Postpartum psychosis and its relationship with bipolar disorder: a polygenic risk score analysis in the UK

Di Florio, A., Yang, J., Crawford, K., Bergink, V., Leonenko, G., Pardiñas, A., Escott-Price, V., Gordon-Smith, Katherine ORCID:, Owen, M., Craddock, N., Jones, Lisa ORCID:, O’Donovan, M. and Jones, I. (2021) Postpartum psychosis and its relationship with bipolar disorder: a polygenic risk score analysis in the UK. The Lancet Psychiatry, 8 (12). pp. 1045-1052. ISSN Print: 2215-0366 Online: 2215-0374

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Background: For more than 150 years, controversy over the status of postpartum psychosis has hindered research and caused considerable confusion for clinicians and women, with potentially negative consequences. We aimed to explore the hypothesis that genetic liability differs between women with first onset postpartum psychosis and those with bipolar disorder more generally.
Methods: Participants were 203 women with first onset postpartum psychosis (defined as a manic, mixed or psychotic depression episode within 6 weeks of delivery without previous psychiatric history) and 1,225 parous women with history of bipolar disorder. All were assessed using a semi-structured psychiatric interview and psychiatric case note review. 2,809 women from the general population were included as controls. All self-reported their ethnicity as White and were recruited across the UK.
Outcomes: In this case-control study, women with first onset postpartum psychosis (median age at interview: 46; range: 21-79) and women with bipolar disorder (49; 19-83) were ascertained between September 1991 and May 2013. Women with first onset postpartum psychosis had similar bipolar disorder and schizophrenia polygenic risk scores (PRS) to women with bipolar disorder, significantly higher than controls. When compared to controls, women with first onset postpartum psychosis had an adjusted relative risk ratio (adjRR) for bipolar disorder PRS of 1·71 (95% Confidence Intervals: 1·56-1·86, p<0.0001) and for schizophrenia PRS of 1·81 (1·66-1·97, p<0.0001). The effect sizes were similar when comparing women with bipolar disorder to controls (adjRR 1·77 (1·69, 1·84), p<0·0001 for bipolar disorder PRS; adjRR 2·00 (1·92, 2·08), p<0·0001 for schizophrenia PRS). While women with bipolar disorder also had higher major depression PRS than controls (adjRR 1·24 (1·17, 1·31), p<0·0001), women with first onset postpartum psychosis did not differ from controls in their polygenic liability to major depression (adjRR 0·97 (0·82-1·11),p=0·63).
Interpretation: Our study supports the recognition of first onset postpartum psychosis as a separate nosological entity within the bipolar disorder spectrum both in research and clinical settings.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: postpartum psychosis, bipolar disorder
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Allied Health and Community
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Depositing User: Katherine Gordon-Smith
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2021 07:06
Last Modified: 17 May 2022 09:13

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