Gene-set analysis based on the pharmacological profiles of drugs to identify repurposing opportunities in schizophrenia

Simone De Jong, Lewis Vidler, Younes Mokrab, David A Collier, Gerome Daniel Breen

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Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified thousands of novel genetic associations for complex genetic disorders, leading to the identification of potential pharmacological targets for novel drug development. In schizophrenia, 108 conservatively defined loci that meet genome-wide significance have been identified and hundreds of additional sub-threshold associations harbor information on the genetic aetiology of the disorder. In the present study, we used gene-set analysis based on the known binding targets of chemical compounds to identify the ‘drug pathways’ most strongly associated with schizophrenia-associated genes, with the aim of identifying potential drug repositioning opportunities and clues for novel treatment paradigms, especially in multi-target drug development. We compiled 9,389 gene sets (2,496 with unique gene content) and interrogated gene-based p-values from the PGC2-SCZ analysis. Although no single drug exceeded experiment wide significance (corrected p<0.05), highly ranked gene-sets reaching suggestive significance including the dopamine receptor antagonists Metoclopramide and Trifluoperazine and the tyrosine kinase inhibitor Neratinib. This is a proof of principal analysis showing the potential utility of GWAS data of schizophrenia for the direct identification of candidate drugs and molecules that show polypharmacy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 May 2016

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