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Enrichment of schizophrenia heritability in both neuronal and glia cell regulatory elements

Tansey, Katherine E. and Hill, Matthew J. ORCID: 2018. Enrichment of schizophrenia heritability in both neuronal and glia cell regulatory elements. Translational Psychiatry 8 , 7. 10.1038/s41398-017-0053-y

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Genome-wide association studies have identified over 100 robust risk loci for schizophrenia with thousands of variants mediating genetic heritability, the majority of which reside in non-coding regions. Analytical approaches have shown this heritability is strongly enriched at variants within regulatory elements identified from human post-mortem brain tissue. However, bulk post-mortem brain tissue has a heterogeneous cell composition, making biological interpretations difficult. We sought to refine the cell types mediating schizophrenia heritability by separating neuronal and glial signals using data from: (1) NeuN-sorted post-mortem brain and (2) cell culture systems. Schizophrenia heritability was partitioned using linkage disequilbrium (LD) score regression. Variants within genomic regions marked by H3K4me3 (marker of active promoters) from NeuN-positive (neuronal) and NeuN-negative (non-neuronal) cells explained a significant amount of schizophrenia heritability (P = 1.38 × 10−10 and P = 7.97 × 10−10). However, variants located in H3K4me3 sites specific to NeuN-positive (neuronal) cells were enriched (P = 3.13 × 10−4), while those specific to NeuN-negative (non-neuronal) cells were not (P = 0.470). Data from cell culture systems mimicked this pattern of association. We show the previously observed enrichment of heritability from variants at brain H3K4me3 sites is mediated by both neuronal and non-neuronal brain cell types. However, only neuronal cell populations showed a unique contribution driven by cell-type specific regulatory elements. Cell culture systems recapitulate disease relevant gene-regulatory landscapes, validating them as a tool for future investigation of genetic mechanisms underlying schizophrenia. Identifying the cell types in which risk variants operate will greatly increase our understanding of schizophrenia pathobiology and aid in the development of novel model systems and therapies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Publisher: Springer Nature
ISSN: 2158-3188
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 October 2017
Date of Acceptance: 29 September 2017
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 21:00

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