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Transcriptome-based polygenic score links depression-related corticolimbic gene expression changes to sex-specific brain morphology and depression risk

Miles, A.E., Dos Santos, F.C., Byrne, E.M. and Jones, Lisa ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5122-8334 (2021) Transcriptome-based polygenic score links depression-related corticolimbic gene expression changes to sex-specific brain morphology and depression risk. Neuropsychopharmacology, 46 (13). pp. 2304-2311. ISSN Print: 0893-133X Online: 1740-634X

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Abstract

Studies in post-mortem human brain tissue have associated major depressive disorder (MDD) with cortical transcriptomic changes, whose potential in vivo impact remains unexplored. To address this translational gap, we recently developed a transcriptome-based polygenic risk score (T-PRS) based on common functional variants capturing ‘depression-like’ shifts in cortical gene expression. Here, we used a non-clinical sample of young adults (n = 482, Duke Neurogenetics Study: 53% women; aged 19.8 ± 1.2 years) to map T-PRS onto brain morphology measures, including Freesurfer-derived subcortical volume, cortical thickness, surface area, and local gyrification index, as well as broad MDD risk, indexed by self-reported family history of depression. We conducted side-by-side comparisons with a PRS independently derived from a Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) MDD GWAS (PGC-PRS), and sought to link T-PRS with diagnosis and symptom severity directly in PGC-MDD participants (n = 29,340, 59% women; 12,923 MDD cases, 16,417 controls). T-PRS was associated with smaller amygdala volume in women (t = −3.478, p = 0.001) and lower prefrontal gyrification across sexes. In men, T-PRS was associated with hypergyrification in temporal and occipital regions. Prefrontal hypogyrification mediated a male-specific indirect link between T-PRS and familial depression (b = 0.005, p = 0.029). PGC-PRS was similarly associated with lower amygdala volume and cortical gyrification; however, both effects were male-specific and hypogyrification emerged in distinct parietal and temporo-occipital regions, unassociated with familial depression. In PGC-MDD, T-PRS did not predict diagnosis (OR = 1.007, 95% CI = [0.997–1.018]) but correlated with symptom severity in men (rho = 0.175, p = 7.957 × 10−4) in one cohort (N = 762, 48% men). Depression-like shifts in cortical gene expression have sex-specific effects on brain morphology and may contribute to broad depression vulnerability in men.

Item Type: Article
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Article citation:
Miles, A.E., Dos Santos, F.C., Byrne, E.M. et al. Transcriptome-based polygenic score links depression-related corticolimbic gene expression changes to sex-specific brain morphology and depression risk. Neuropsychopharmacol. 46, 2304–2311 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-021-01189-x

A list of members and their affiliations appears in the Supplementary Information.

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: depression, genetics, risk factors
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Allied Health and Community
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Lisa Jones
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2021 11:26
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2021 15:43
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/11511

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