Hair cortisol in twins: heritability and genetic overlap with psychological variables and stress-system genes

Rietschel, Liz, Streit, Fabian, Zhu, Gu, McAloney, Kerrie, Frank, Josef, Couvy-Douchesne, Baptiste, Witt, Stephanie H., Binz, Tina M., CORtisolNETwork (CORNET) Consortium, , Psychiatric Genomics Consotium (PGC), , Mcgrath, John, Hickie, Ian B., Hansell, Narelle K., Wright, Margaret J., Gillespie, Nathan A., Forstner, Andreas J., Schulze, Thomas G., Wüst, Stefan, Nöthen, Markus M., Baumgartner, Markus R., Walker, Brian R., Crawford, Andrew A., Colodro-Conde, Lucía, Medland, Sarah E., Martin, Nicholas G., and Rietschel, Marcella (2017) Hair cortisol in twins: heritability and genetic overlap with psychological variables and stress-system genes. Scientific Reports, 7. 15351.

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Abstract

Hair cortisol concentration (HCC) is a promising measure of long-Term hypothalamus-pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis activity. Previous research has suggested an association between HCC and psychological variables, and initial studies of inter-individual variance in HCC have implicated genetic factors. However, whether HCC and psychological variables share genetic risk factors remains unclear. The aims of the present twin study were to: (i) assess the heritability of HCC; (ii) estimate the phenotypic and genetic correlation between HPA axis activity and the psychological variables perceived stress, depressive symptoms, and neuroticism; using formal genetic twin models and molecular genetic methods, i.e. polygenic risk scores (PRS). HCC was measured in 671 adolescents and young adults. These included 115 monozygotic and 183 dizygotic twin-pairs. For 432 subjects PRS scores for plasma cortisol, major depression, and neuroticism were calculated using data from large genome wide association studies. The twin model revealed a heritability for HCC of 72%. No significant phenotypic or genetic correlation was found between HCC and the three psychological variables of interest. PRS did not explain variance in HCC. The present data suggest that HCC is highly heritable. However, the data do not support a strong biological link between HCC and any of the investigated psychological variables.

Item ID: 54228
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Additional Information:

Grant Sinnamon is a member of the Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC)

Funders: University of Queensland (UQ) International Scholarship, QIMR Berghofer Fellowship, Chief Scientist Office, Scotland (CSO), British Heart Foundation (BHF), Wellcome Trust (WT), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) Integrated Network IntegraMent (IN)
Projects and Grants: SCO grant CZB-4-733, BHF grant RG11/4/28734, WT Senior Investigator Award grant number 107049/Z/15/Z, NHMRC grant APP1049911, NHMRC grant APP1009064, BMBF IN grant BMBF01ZX1314G, BMBF IN grant BMBF01ZX1614G
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2018 03:35
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110306 Endocrinology @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1109 Neurosciences > 110999 Neurosciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920106 Endocrine Organs and Diseases (excl. Diabetes) @ 100%
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