Polygenic risk score analyses of symptoms and treatment response in an antipsychotic-naive first episode of psychosis cohort

Marcos Leite Santoro, Vanessa Ota, Simone de Jong, Cristiano Noto, Leticia M. Spindola, Fernanda Talarico, Eduardo Gouvea, Sang Hyuck Lee, Patricia Moretti, Charles Curtis, Hamel Patel, Stephen Newhouse, Carolina Muniz Carvalho, Ary Gadelha, Quirino Cordeiro, Rodrigo Affonseca Bressan, Sintia Iole Belangero, Gerome Breen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
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In this study, we aimed to test if the schizophrenia (SCZ) polygenic risk score (PRS) was associated with clinical symptoms in (a) the first episode of psychosis pre-treatment (FEP), (b) at nine weeks after initiation of risperidone treatment (FEP-9W) and (c) with the response to risperidone. We performed a detailed clinical assessment of 60 FEP patients who were antipsychotic-naive and, again, after nine weeks of standardized treatment with risperidone. After blood collection and DNA isolation, the samples were genotyped using the Illumina PsychArrayChip and then imputed. To calculate PRS, we used the latest available GWAS summary statistics from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium wave-2 SCZ group as a training set. We used Poisson regression to test association between PRS and clinical measurements correcting for the four principal components (genotyping). We considered a p-value < 0.0014 (Bonferroni correction) as significant. First, we verified that the schizophrenia PRS was also able to distinguish cases from controls in this south-eastern Brazilian sample, with a similar variance explained to that seen in Northern European populations. In addition, within-cases analyses, we found that PRS is significantly correlated with baseline (pre-treatment) symptoms, as measured by lower clinical global assessment of functioning (−GAF), higher depressive symptoms and higher scores on a derived excitement factor. After standardized treatment for nine weeks, the correlation with GAF and the excitement factor disappeared while depressive symptoms became negatively associated with PRS. We conclude that drug (and other treatments) may confound attempts to understand the aetiological influence on symptomatology of polygenic risk scores. These results highlight the importance of studying schizophrenia, and other disorders, pre-treatment to understand the relationship between polygenic risk and phenotypic features.

Original languageEnglish
Article number174
JournalTranslational psychiatry
Issue number1
Early online date31 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


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