JOURNAL ARTICLE

Significant Locus and Metabolic Genetic Correlations Revealed in Genome-Wide Association Study of Anorexia Nervosa

Laramie Duncan, Zeynep Yilmaz, Helena Gaspar, Raymond Walters, Jackie Goldstein, Verneri Anttila, Brendan Bulik-Sullivan, Stephan Ripke, Laura Thornton, Anke Hinney, Mark Daly, Patrick F Sullivan, Eleftheria Zeggini, Gerome Breen, Cynthia M Bulik
American Journal of Psychiatry 2017 September 1, 174 (9): 850-858
28494655

OBJECTIVE: The authors conducted a genome-wide association study of anorexia nervosa and calculated genetic correlations with a series of psychiatric, educational, and metabolic phenotypes.

METHOD: Following uniform quality control and imputation procedures using the 1000 Genomes Project (phase 3) in 12 case-control cohorts comprising 3,495 anorexia nervosa cases and 10,982 controls, the authors performed standard association analysis followed by a meta-analysis across cohorts. Linkage disequilibrium score regression was used to calculate genome-wide common variant heritability (single-nucleotide polymorphism [SNP]-based heritability [h2 SNP ]), partitioned heritability, and genetic correlations (rg ) between anorexia nervosa and 159 other phenotypes.

RESULTS: Results were obtained for 10,641,224 SNPs and insertion-deletion variants with minor allele frequencies >1% and imputation quality scores >0.6. The h2 SNP of anorexia nervosa was 0.20 (SE=0.02), suggesting that a substantial fraction of the twin-based heritability arises from common genetic variation. The authors identified one genome-wide significant locus on chromosome 12 (rs4622308) in a region harboring a previously reported type 1 diabetes and autoimmune disorder locus. Significant positive genetic correlations were observed between anorexia nervosa and schizophrenia, neuroticism, educational attainment, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and significant negative genetic correlations were observed between anorexia nervosa and body mass index, insulin, glucose, and lipid phenotypes.

CONCLUSIONS: Anorexia nervosa is a complex heritable phenotype for which this study has uncovered the first genome-wide significant locus. Anorexia nervosa also has large and significant genetic correlations with both psychiatric phenotypes and metabolic traits. The study results encourage a reconceptualization of this frequently lethal disorder as one with both psychiatric and metabolic etiology.

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