Biological Sciences, Department of

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Association Testing Of Copy Number Variants in Schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012
Abstract: 

Background: Autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia have been associated with an overlapping set of copynumber variant loci, but the nature and degree of overlap in copy number variants (deletions compared toduplications) between these two disorders remains unclear.Methods: We systematically evaluated three lines of evidence: (1) the statistical bases for associations of autismspectrum disorders and schizophrenia with a set of the primary CNVs thus far investigated, from previous studies;(2) data from case series studies on the occurrence of these CNVs in autism spectrum disorders, especially amongchildren, and (3) data on the extent to which the CNVs were associated with intellectual disability anddevelopmental, speech, or language delays. We also conducted new analyses of existing data on these CNVs inautism by pooling data from seven case control studies.Results: Four of the CNVs considered, dup 1q21.1, dup 15q11-q13, del 16p11.2, and dup 22q11.21, showed clearstatistical evidence as autism risk factors, whereas eight CNVs, del 1q21.1, del 3q29, del 15q11.2, del 15q13.3, dup16p11.2, dup 16p13.1, del 17p12, and del 22q11.21, were strongly statistically supported as risk factors forschizophrenia. Three of the CNVs, dup 1q21.1, dup 16p11.2, and dup 16p13.1, exhibited statistical support as riskfactors for both autism and schizophrenia, although for each of these CNVs statistical significance was nominal fortests involving one of the two disorders. For the CNVs that were statistically associated with schizophrenia but werenot statistically associated with autism, a notable number of children with the CNVs have been diagnosed withautism or ASD; children with these CNVs also demonstrate a high incidence of intellectual disability anddevelopmental, speech, or language delays.Conclusions: These findings suggest that although CNV loci notably overlap between autism and schizophrenia,the degree of strongly statistically supported overlap in specific CNVs at these loci remains limited. These analysesalso suggest that relatively severe premorbidity to CNV-associated schizophrenia in children may sometimes bediagnosed as autism spectrum disorder.

Document type: 
Article