Evidence, and replication thereof, that molecular-genetic and environmental risks for psychosis impact through an affective pathway

Jim van Os, Lotta-Katrin Pries, Margreet Ten Have, Ron de Graaf, Saskia van Dorsselaer, Philippe Delespaul, Maarten Bak, Gunter Kenis, Bochao D Lin, Jurjen J Luykx, Alexander L Richards, Berna Akdede, Tolga Binbay, Vesile Altınyazar, Berna Yalınçetin, Güvem Gümüş-Akay, Burçin Cihan, Haldun Soygür, Halis Ulaş, Eylem Şahin Cankurtaran, Semra Ulusoy Kaymak, Marina M Mihaljevic, Sanja Andric Petrovic, Tijana Mirjanic, Miguel Bernardo, Gisela Mezquida, Silvia Amoretti, Julio Bobes, Pilar A Saiz, María Paz García-Portilla, Julio Sanjuan, Eduardo J Aguilar, José Luis Santos, Estela Jiménez-López, Manuel Arrojo, Angel Carracedo, Gonzalo López, Javier González-Peñas, Mara Parellada, Nadja P Maric, Cem Atbaşoğlu, Alp Ucok, Köksal Alptekin, Meram Can Saka, Celso Arango, Michael O'Donovan, Bart P F Rutten, Sinan Guloksuz
Psychological Medicine 2020 October 19, : 1-13

BACKGROUND: There is evidence that environmental and genetic risk factors for schizophrenia spectrum disorders are transdiagnostic and mediated in part through a generic pathway of affective dysregulation.

METHODS: We analysed to what degree the impact of schizophrenia polygenic risk (PRS-SZ) and childhood adversity (CA) on psychosis outcomes was contingent on co-presence of affective dysregulation, defined as significant depressive symptoms, in (i) NEMESIS-2 (n = 6646), a representative general population sample, interviewed four times over nine years and (ii) EUGEI (n = 4068) a sample of patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, the siblings of these patients and controls.

RESULTS: The impact of PRS-SZ on psychosis showed significant dependence on co-presence of affective dysregulation in NEMESIS-2 [relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI): 1.01, p = 0.037] and in EUGEI (RERI = 3.39, p = 0.048). This was particularly evident for delusional ideation (NEMESIS-2: RERI = 1.74, p = 0.003; EUGEI: RERI = 4.16, p = 0.019) and not for hallucinatory experiences (NEMESIS-2: RERI = 0.65, p = 0.284; EUGEI: -0.37, p = 0.547). A similar and stronger pattern of results was evident for CA (RERI delusions and hallucinations: NEMESIS-2: 3.02, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 6.44, p < 0.001; RERI delusional ideation: NEMESIS-2: 3.79, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 5.43, p = 0.001; RERI hallucinatory experiences: NEMESIS-2: 2.46, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 0.54, p = 0.465).

CONCLUSIONS: The results, and internal replication, suggest that the effects of known genetic and non-genetic risk factors for psychosis are mediated in part through an affective pathway, from which early states of delusional meaning may arise.

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