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Evidence for Shared Genetic Aetiology Between Schizophrenia, Cardiometabolic, and Inflammation-Related Traits: Genetic Correlation and Colocalization Analyses.

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Bowker, Nicholas 
Upthegrove, Rachel 


Background: Schizophrenia commonly co-occurs with cardiometabolic and inflammation-related traits. It is unclear to what extent the comorbidity could be explained by shared genetic aetiology. Methods: We used GWAS data to estimate shared genetic aetiology between schizophrenia, cardiometabolic, and inflammation-related traits: fasting insulin (FI), fasting glucose, glycated haemoglobin, glucose tolerance, type 2 diabetes (T2D), lipids, body mass index (BMI), coronary artery disease (CAD), and C-reactive protein (CRP). We examined genome-wide correlation using linkage disequilibrium score regression (LDSC); stratified by minor-allele frequency using genetic covariance analyzer (GNOVA); then refined to locus-level using heritability estimation from summary statistics (ρ-HESS). Regions with local correlation were used in hypothesis prioritization multi-trait colocalization to examine for colocalisation, implying common genetic aetiology. Results: We found evidence for weak genome-wide negative correlation of schizophrenia with T2D (rg = -0.07; 95% C.I., -0.03,0.12; P = .002) and BMI (rg = -0.09; 95% C.I., -0.06, -0.12; P = 1.83 × 10-5). We found a trend of evidence for positive genetic correlation between schizophrenia and cardiometabolic traits confined to lower-frequency variants. This was underpinned by 85 regions of locus-level correlation with evidence of opposing mechanisms. Ten loci showed strong evidence of colocalization. Four of those (rs6265 (BDNF); rs8192675 (SLC2A2); rs3800229 (FOXO3); rs17514846 (FURIN)) are implicated in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-related pathways. Conclusions: LDSC may lead to downwardly-biased genetic correlation estimates between schizophrenia, cardiometabolic, and inflammation-related traits. Common genetic aetiology for these traits could be confined to lower-frequency common variants and involve opposing mechanisms. Genes related to BDNF and glucose transport amongst others may partly explain the comorbidity between schizophrenia and cardiometabolic disorders.



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Schizophr Bull Open

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Oxford University Press (OUP)
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (DRF-2018-11-ST2-018)
Wellcome Trust (201486/Z/16/Z)
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (via Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) (RP PG-0616-20003)
Medical Research Council (MC_PC_17213)
MQ: Transforming Mental Health (MQDS17\40)
MRC (MC_UU_00006/1)
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