Genome-wide DNA methylation patterns associated with general psychopathology in children

Jolien Rijlaarsdam*, Edward D. Barker, Chiara Caserini, M. Elisabeth Koopman-Verhoeff, Rosa H. Mulder, Janine F. Felix, Charlotte A.M. Cecil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Psychiatric symptoms are interrelated and found to be largely captured by a general psychopathology factor (GPF). Although epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation (DNAm), have been linked to individual psychiatric outcomes, associations with GPF remain unclear. Using data from 440 children aged 10 years participating in the Generation R Study, we examined the associations of DNAm with both general and specific (internalizing, externalizing) factors of psychopathology. Genome-wide DNAm levels, measured in peripheral blood using the Illumina 450K array, were clustered into wider co-methylation networks (‘modules’) using a weighted gene co-expression network analysis. One co-methylated module associated with GPF after multiple testing correction, while none associated with the specific factors. This module comprised of 218 CpG probes, of which 198 mapped onto different genes. The CpG most strongly driving the association with GPF was annotated to FZD1, a gene that has been implicated in schizophrenia and wider neurological processes. Associations between the probes contained in the co-methylated module and GPF were supported in an independent sample of children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), as evidenced by significant correlations in effect sizes. These findings might contribute to improving our understanding of dynamic molecular processes underlying complex psychiatric phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-220
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of psychiatric research
Volume140
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • ALSPAC
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • General psychopathology
  • Generation R

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