Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Effects of environmental risks and polygenic loading for schizophrenia on cortical thickness

Neilson, Emma, Bois, Catherine, Gibson, Jude, Duff, Barbara, Watson, Andrew, Roberts, Neil, Brandon, Nicholas J., Dunlop, John, Hall, Jeremy ORCID:, McIntosh, Andrew M., Whalley, Heather C. and Lawrie, Stephen M. 2017. Effects of environmental risks and polygenic loading for schizophrenia on cortical thickness. Schizophrenia Research 184 , pp. 128-136. 10.1016/j.schres.2016.12.011

[thumbnail of Emma_Neilson_Manuscript_R2[1].pdf]
PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (611kB) | Preview


There are established differences in cortical thickness (CT) in schizophrenia (SCZ) and bipolar (BD) patients when compared to healthy controls (HC). However, it is unknown to what extent environmental or genetic risk factors impact on CT in these populations. We have investigated the effect of Environmental Risk Scores (ERS) and Polygenic Risk Scores for SCZ (PGRS-SCZ) on CT. Structural MRI scans were acquired at 3T for patients with SCZ or BD (n = 57) and controls (n = 41). Cortical reconstructions were generated in FreeSurfer (v5.3). The ERS was created by determining exposure to cannabis use, childhood adverse events, migration, urbanicity and obstetric complications. The PGRS-SCZ were generated, for a subset of the sample (Patients = 43, HC = 32), based on the latest PGC GWAS findings. ANCOVAs were used to test the hypotheses that ERS and PGRS-SCZ relate to CT globally, and in frontal and temporal lobes. An increase in ERS was negatively associated with CT within temporal lobe for patients. A higher PGRS-SCZ was also related to global cortical thinning for patients. ERS effects remained significant when including PGRS-SCZ as a fixed effect. No relationship which survived FDR correction was found for ERS and PGRS-SCZ in controls. Environmental risk for SCZ was related to localised cortical thinning in patients with SCZ and BD, while increased PGRS-SCZ was associated with global cortical thinning. Genetic and environmental risk factors for SCZ appear therefore to have differential effects. This provides a mechanistic means by which different risk factors may contribute to the development of SCZ and BD.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Environmental risk; Polygenic risk; Schizophrenia; Bipolar disorder; Structural MRI
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0920-9964
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 May 2017
Date of Acceptance: 11 December 2016
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 16:49

Citation Data

Cited 29 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics