News and Commentary Archive

Explore recent scientific discoveries and news as well as CLBB events, commentary, and press.

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The speed of technology in neuroscience as it impacts ethical and just decisions in the legal system needs to be understood by lawyers, judges, public policy makers, and the general public. The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior is an academic and professional resource for the education, research, and understanding of neuroscience and the law. Read more

Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies SESTD1 as a Novel Risk Gene for Lithium-Responsive Bipolar Disorder

By J. Song, Sarah E. Bergen, Arianna Di Florio, R. Karlsson, Alexander Charney, Douglas M. Ruderfer, Eli A. Stahl, Members of the International Cohort Collection for Bipolar Disorder (ICCBD), Kimberly D. Chambert, Jennifer L. Moran, Katherine Gordon-Smith, Liz Forty, Elaine K. Green, Ian Jones, Lisa Jones, E. M. Scolnick, Pamela Sklar, Jordan W. Smoller, P. Lichtenstein, Christina Hultman, Nick Craddock, and Mikael Landén | Molecular Psychiatry | October 27, 2015

Abstract:

Lithium is the mainstay prophylactic treatment for bipolar disorder (BD), but treatment response varies considerably across individuals. Patients who respond well to lithium treatment might represent a relatively homogeneous subtype of this genetically and phenotypically diverse disorder. Here, we performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify (i) specific genetic variations influencing lithium response and (ii) genetic variants associated with risk for lithium-responsive BD. Patients with BD and controls were recruited from Sweden and the United Kingdom. GWAS were performed on 2698 patients with subjectively defined (self-reported) lithium response and 1176 patients with objectively defined (clinically documented) lithium response. We next conducted GWAS comparing lithium responders with healthy controls (1639 subjective responders and 8899 controls; 323 objective responders and 6684 controls). Meta-analyses of Swedish and UK results revealed no significant associations with lithium response within the bipolar subjects. However, when comparing lithium-responsive patients with controls, two imputed markers attained genome-wide significant associations, among which one was validated in confirmatory genotyping (rs116323614, P=2.74 × 10−8). It is an intronic single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) on chromosome 2q31.2 in the gene SEC14 and spectrin domains 1 (SESTD1), which encodes a protein involved in regulation of phospholipids. Phospholipids have been strongly implicated as lithium treatment targets. Furthermore, we estimated the proportion of variance for lithium-responsive BD explained by common variants (‘SNP heritability’) as 0.25 and 0.29 using two definitions of lithium response. Our results revealed a genetic variant in SESTD1 associated with risk for lithium-responsive BD, suggesting that the understanding of BD etiology could be furthered by focusing on this subtype of BD.

Read the full paper here.

Nicotine Dependence and Psychosis in Bipolar Disorder and Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Type

By Elena Estrada, Sarah M. Hartz, Jeffrey Tran, Donald M. Hilty, Pamela Sklar, Jordan W. Smoller, Carlos N. Pato, Michele T. Pato, and Genomic Psychiatry Cohort Consortium | American Journal of Medical Genetics | October 15, 2015

Abstract:

Patients with Bipolar disorder smoke more than the general population. Smoking negatively impacts mortality and clinical course in Bipolar disorder patients. Prior studies have shown contradictory results regarding the impact of psychosis on smoking behavior in Bipolar disorder. We analyzed a large sample of Bipolar disorder and Schizoaffective disorder, Bipolar Type patients and predicted those with a history of psychosis would be more likely to be nicotine dependent. Data from subjects and controls were collected from the Genomic Psychiatry Cohort (GPC). Subjects were diagnosed with Bipolar disorder without psychosis (N = 610), Bipolar disorder with psychosis (N = 1544). Participants were classified with or without nicotine dependence. Diagnostic groups were compared to controls (N = 10065) using logistic regression. Among smokers (N = 6157), those with Bipolar disorder had an increased risk of nicotine dependence (OR = 2.5; P < 0.0001). Patients with Bipolar disorder with psychosis were more likely to be dependent than Bipolar disorder patients without psychosis (OR = 1.3; P = 0.03). Schizoaffective disorder, Bipolar Type patients had more risk of nicotine dependence when compared to Bipolar disorder patients with or without psychosis (OR = 1.2; P = 0.02). Bipolar disorder patients experiencing more severity of psychosis have more risk of nicotine dependence.

Read the full paper here.