Genes that May Trigger Depression Identified

Summary: A new Nature Communications study reveals 80 newly identified genes that may be linked to an increased risk of developing major depressive disorder.

Source: University of Edinburgh.

Nearly 80 genes that could be linked to depression have been discovered by scientists.

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Genome-wide association study of depression phenotypes in UK Biobank identifies variants in excitatory synaptic pathways

Depression is a polygenic trait that causes extensive periods of disability. Previous genetic studies have identified common risk variants which have progressively increased in number with increasing sample sizes of the respective studies. Here, we conduct a genome-wide association study in 322,580 UK Biobank participants for three depression-related phenotypes: broad depression, probable major depressive disorder (MDD), and International Classification of Diseases (ICD, version 9 or 10)-coded MDD. We identify 17 independent loci that are significantly associated (P < 5 × 10−8) across the three phenotypes. The direction of effect of these loci is consistently replicated in an independent sample, with 14 loci likely representing novel findings. Gene sets are enriched in excitatory neurotransmission, mechanosensory behaviour, post synapse, neuron spine and dendrite functions. Our findings suggest that broad depression is the most tractable UK Biobank phenotype for discovering genes and gene sets that further our understanding of the biological pathways underlying depression.

Source: Kate McAllister – University of Edinburgh Publisher: Organized by Image Source: image is in the public domain. Original Research: Open access research for “Genome-wide association study of depression phenotypes in UK Biobank identifies variants in excitatory synaptic pathways” by David M. Howard, Mark J. Adams, Masoud Shirali, Toni-Kim Clarke, Riccardo E. Marioni, Gail Davies, Jonathan R. I. Coleman, Clara Alloza, Xueyi Shen, Miruna C. Barbu, Eleanor M. Wigmore, Jude Gibson, 23andMe Research Team, Saskia P. Hagenaars, Cathryn M. Lewis, Joey Ward, Daniel J. Smith, Patrick F. Sullivan, Chris S. Haley, Gerome Breen, Ian J. Deary & Andrew M. McIntosh in Nature Communications. Published April 16 2018. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-03819-3