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Study Description

Twin studies are consistent with substantial heritability in anorexia nervosa (AN), although detecting and confirming individual risk alleles has been difficult, due to small effects of single alleles and limited samples in prior studies.

Methods: 1105 AN DNA samples obtained in a multisite study and 3733 pediatric patients of normal body weight were genotyped using the Illumina 610Q chip at The Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Cases and controls were of European ancestry. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotypes were subjected to quality control procedures, including elimination of SNPs with: call rates < 95%, minor allele frequency < 5%, and if Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium testing yielded p < 0.0001. Samples were removed if not of European ancestry or if showing cryptic relatedness. Eight AN DNA samples were deleted for low call rate, and 51 AN samples were deleted for cryptic relatedness. The statistical program, PLINK, was used to calculate a P value for each SNP passing quality control using the Cochran-Armitage trend test. The PennCNV program was used to define copy number variation (CNV).

Results: We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using with 1033 AN cases and 3733 controls (genomic inflation factor = 1.08). There were 11 SNPs with P<1X10-5 [(rsID, chromosome location, nearest gene, distance to nearest gene (base-pair), P value) rs6959888, 7q21.13, ZNF804B, 0, 1.63E-06; rs17725255, 20p11.23, CSRP2BP, 39396, 1.72E-06; rs10494067, 1p13.3, NTNG1, 0, 5.83E-06; rs2383378, 14q12, AKAP6, 0, 6.41E-06; rs410644, 5q14.1, SSBP2, 40462, 6.74E-06; rs4479806, 5p14.1, CDH9, 156926, 7.79E-06; rs957788, 13q33.3, FAM155A, 0, 8.11E-06; rs830998, 2q31.1, LRP2, 0, 8.68E-06; rs6782029, 3p25.3, VGLL4, 0, 9.04E-06; rs512089, 9p21.3, ELAVL2, 47984, 9.85E-06; rs3808986, 11q24.3, APLP2, 29217, 9.92E-6]. CNV analyses were performed on 1015 AN cases and 3532 controls. Overall frequencies of common or rare CNVs were similar between cases and controls. Specific rare and large (>500 kb, <1%) CNVs of interest included deletion of a large (~1.4Mbp) region of chr13q12 found in 2 AN samples and at a 10 fold lower frequency in a large sample (72,918) of subjects containing the genes SGCG, SACS, TNFRSF19, MIPEP, PCOTH, C1QTNF9B, SPATA13, MIR2276, and C1QTNF9, and an overlapping deletion and a duplication observed in 3 AN samples overlapping the CNTN6 and CNTN4 genes. Partially overlapping ~ 30 kb duplications were seen in 12 AN cases and in 1 control at the CDC5L gene on chromosome 6. Partially overlapping deletion of the 3' half of the PSTPIP1 gene was seen in 5 AN cases and no controls. Finally, a ~ 60 kb deletion of the PLEC1 gene was observed in 5 AN cases and in none of 3532 controls.

Discussion: This is the first GWAS of AN. These preliminary results are consistent with absence of a major gene effect in AN. These results are consistent with genetic risk conveyed by multiple common alleles of small effect, as well as some uncommon CNVs of potentially larger effect. None of the implicated genes has a clear role in eating behavior. It must be emphasized that these results are preliminary and an additional ~ 400 AN cases will be analyzed as time and resources permit. These results require confirmation through study of independent populations of AN women.

  • Study Type: Case-Control
  • dbGaP estimated ancestry components using GRAF-pop
  • Number of study subjects that have individual level data available through Authorized Access: 1001

Authorized Access
Publicly Available Data (Public ftp)

Connect to the public download site. The site contains release notes and manifests. If available, the site also contains data dictionaries, variable summaries, documents, and truncated analyses.

Study Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion: Lifetime diagnosis of DSM-IV AN, with or without amenorrhea, at least 3 years before study entry and by age 45, body mass index at or below 18kg/m2.

Exclusion: Lifetime diagnosis of DSM-IV BN, history of severe CNS trauma, psychotic disorder or developmental disability, or a medical or neurological condition such as type 1 diabetes that could confound the diagnosis of AN.

Molecular Data
TypeSourcePlatformNumber of Oligos/SNPsSNP Batch IdComment
Whole Genome Genotyping Illumina Human610_Quadv1_B 601273 1048904
Study History

The DNA and clinical information for this dataset was initiated in 1992 and consists of a series of multi-center international collaborations involving investigators and institutes in the United States, Canada, England, Germany, and Italy. The studies have been supported by the Price Foundation and also involve a similar collaborative study supported by the NIMH.

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