King's College London

Research portal

Examining the association between genetic liability for schizophrenia and psychotic symptoms in Alzheimer's disease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

AddNeuroMed consortium and the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Original languageEnglish
Article number273
Number of pages1
JournalTranslational psychiatry
Issue number1
Published1 Dec 2019

King's Authors


Psychosis (delusions or hallucinations) in Alzheimer's disease (AD + P) occurs in up to 50% of individuals and is associated with significantly worse clinical outcomes. Atypical antipsychotics, first developed for schizophrenia, are commonly used in AD + P, suggesting shared mechanisms. Despite this implication, little empirical research has been conducted to examine whether there are mechanistic similarities between AD + P and schizophrenia. In this study, we tested whether polygenic risk score (PRS) for schizophrenia was associated with AD + P. Schizophrenia PRS was calculated using Psychiatric Genomics Consortium data at ten GWAS p value thresholds (PT) in 3111 AD cases from 11 cohort studies characterized for psychosis using validated, standardized tools. Association between PRS and AD + P status was tested by logistic regression in each cohort individually and the results meta-analyzed. The schizophrenia PRS was associated with AD + P at an optimum PT of 0.01. The strongest association was for delusions where a one standard deviation increase in PRS was associated with a 1.18-fold increased risk (95% CI: 1.06-1.3; p = 0.001). These new findings point towards psychosis in AD-and particularly delusions-sharing some genetic liability with schizophrenia and support a transdiagnostic view of psychotic symptoms across the lifespan.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454