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Shared and divergent mental health characteristics of ADNP-, CHD8- and DYRK1A-related neurodevelopmental conditions.

BACKGROUND: Neurodevelopmental conditions such as intellectual disability (ID) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can stem from a broad array of inherited and de novo genetic differences, with marked physiological and behavioral impacts. We currently know little about the psychiatric phenotypes of rare genetic variants associated with ASD, despite heightened risk of psychiatric concerns in ASD more broadly. Understanding behavioral features of these variants can identify shared versus specific phenotypes across gene groups, facilitate mechanistic models, and provide prognostic insights to inform clinical practice. In this paper, we evaluate behavioral features within three gene groups associated with ID and ASD - ADNP, CHD8, and DYRK1A - with two aims: (1) characterize phenotypes across behavioral domains of anxiety, depression, ADHD, and challenging behavior; and (2) understand whether age and early developmental milestones are associated with later mental health outcomes.

METHODS: Phenotypic data were obtained for youth with disruptive variants in ADNP, CHD8, or DYRK1A (N = 65, mean age = 8.7 years, 40% female) within a long-running, genetics-first study. Standardized caregiver-report measures of mental health features (anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity, oppositional behavior) and developmental history were extracted and analyzed for effects of gene group, age, and early developmental milestones on mental health features.

RESULTS: Patterns of mental health features varied by group, with anxiety most prominent for CHD8, oppositional features overrepresented among ADNP, and attentional and depressive features most prominent for DYRK1A. For the full sample, age was positively associated with anxiety features, such that elevations in anxiety relative to same-age and same-sex peers may worsen with increasing age. Predictive utility of early developmental milestones was limited, with evidence of early language delays predicting greater difficulties across behavioral domains only for the CHD8 group.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite shared associations with autism and intellectual disability, disruptive variants in ADNP, CHD8, and DYRK1A may yield variable psychiatric phenotypes among children and adolescents. With replication in larger samples over time, efforts such as these may contribute to improved clinical care for affected children and adolescents, allow for earlier identification of emerging mental health difficulties, and promote early intervention to alleviate concerns and improve quality of life.

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