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Genetic common variants associated with cerebellar volume and their overlap with mental disorders: a study on 33,265 individuals from the UK-Biobank

Chambers, Tom, Escott-Price, Valentina ORCID:, Legge, Sophie, Baker, Emily, Singh, Krish ORCID:, Walters, James T. R. ORCID:, Caseras, Xavier ORCID: and Anney, Richard J. L. ORCID: 2022. Genetic common variants associated with cerebellar volume and their overlap with mental disorders: a study on 33,265 individuals from the UK-Biobank. Molecular Psychiatry 27 , pp. 2282-2290. 10.1038/s41380-022-01443-8

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Interest in the cerebellum is expanding given evidence of its contributions to cognition and emotion, and dysfunction in various psychopathologies. However, research into its genetic architecture and shared influences with liability for mental disorders is lacking. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of total cerebellar volume and underlying cerebellar lobe volumes in 33,265 UK-Biobank participants. Total cerebellar volume was heritable (h2SNP = 50.6%), showing moderate genetic homogeneity across lobes (h2SNP from 35.4% to 57.1%; mean genetic correlation between lobes rg ≈ 0.44). We identified 33 GWAS signals associated with total cerebellar volume, of which 6 are known to alter protein-coding gene structure, while a further five mapped to genomic regions known to alter cerebellar tissue gene expression. Use of summary data-based Mendelian randomisation further prioritised genes whose change in expression appears to mediate the SNP-trait association. In total, we highlight 21 unique genes of greatest interest for follow-up analyses. Using LD-regression, we report significant genetic correlations between total cerebellar volume and brainstem, pallidum and thalamus volumes. While the same approach did not result in significant correlations with psychiatric phenotypes, we report enrichment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism spectrum disorder associated signals within total cerebellar GWAS results via conditional and conjunctional-FDR analysis. Via these methods and GWAS catalogue, we identify which of our cerebellar genomic regions also associate with psychiatric traits. Our results provide important insights into the common allele architecture of cerebellar volume and its overlap with other brain volumes and psychiatric phenotypes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher: Springer Nature [academic journals on]
ISSN: 1359-4184
Funders: MRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 January 2022
Date of Acceptance: 11 January 2022
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2024 03:19

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