The Association between familial risk and brain abnormalities Is disease specific: an ENIGMA-relatives study of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

Date
2019
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Source Title
Biological Psychiatry
Print ISSN
0006-3223
Electronic ISSN
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
86
Issue
7
Pages
545 - 556
Language
English
Type
Report
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Abstract

Abstract Background Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder share genetic liability, and some structural brain abnormalities are common to both conditions. First-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia (FDRs-SZ) show similar brain abnormalities to patients, albeit with smaller effect sizes. Imaging findings in first-degree relatives of patients with bipolar disorder (FDRs-BD) have been inconsistent in the past, but recent studies report regionally greater volumes compared with control subjects.

Methods We performed a meta-analysis of global and subcortical brain measures of 6008 individuals (1228 FDRs-SZ, 852 FDRs-BD, 2246 control subjects, 1016 patients with schizophrenia, 666 patients with bipolar disorder) from 34 schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder family cohorts with standardized methods. Analyses were repeated with a correction for intracranial volume (ICV) and for the presence of any psychopathology in the relatives and control subjects.

Results FDRs-BD had significantly larger ICV (d = +0.16, q < .05 corrected), whereas FDRs-SZ showed smaller thalamic volumes than control subjects (d = −0.12, q < .05 corrected). ICV explained the enlargements in the brain measures in FDRs-BD. In FDRs-SZ, after correction for ICV, total brain, cortical gray matter, cerebral white matter, cerebellar gray and white matter, and thalamus volumes were significantly smaller; the cortex was thinner (d < −0.09, q < .05 corrected); and third ventricle was larger (d = +0.15, q < .05 corrected). The findings were not explained by psychopathology in the relatives or control subjects.

Conclusions Despite shared genetic liability, FDRs-SZ and FDRs-BD show a differential pattern of structural brain abnormalities, specifically a divergent effect in ICV. This may imply that the neurodevelopmental trajectories leading to brain anomalies in schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are distinct.

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Keywords
Bipolar disorder, Familial riskImaging, Meta-analysis, Neurodevelopment, Schizophrenia
Citation
Published Version (Please cite this version)