Transcriptome-wide association study of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder identifies associated genes and phenotypes

Calwing LiaoBSc, Alexandre D. Laporte BSc, Dan Spiegelman MSc, Fulya Akçimen MSc, Ridha Joober MD, Patrick A. Dion PhD, Guy A. Rouleau MD PhD

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Jun 06, 2019
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Received Date: 29th May 19

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders. Previous studies have shown that the disorder is highly heritable and associated with several different risk-taking behaviors. Additionally, brain-imaging studies have identified various brain regions such as the cerebellum and frontal cortex to be altered in ADHD. Large genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several loci associated with ADHD. However, understanding the biological relevance of these genetic loci has proven to be difficult. Here, we conducted the largest ADHD transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS) to date consisting of 19,099 cases and 34,194 controls and identified 9 transcriptome-wide significant hits. We successfully demonstrate that several previous GWAS hits can be largely explained by expression. Probabilistic causal fine-mapping of TWAS signals prioritized KAT2B with a posterior probability of 0.467 in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and TMEM161B with a posterior probability of 0.838 in the amygdala. Furthermore, pathway enrichments identified dopaminergic and norepinephrine pathways, which are highly relevant for ADHD. Finally, we used the top eQTLs associated with the TWAS genes to identify phenotypes relevant to ADHD and found an inverse genetic correlation with educational attainment and a positive correlation with “ever smoker”, maternal smoking at birth, BMI, and schizophrenia. Overall, our findings highlight the power of TWAS to identify novel risk loci and prioritize putatively causal genes.

Read in full at bioRxiv.

This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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Nature Communications

Nature Research, Springer Nature