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Transl Psychiatry. 2019 Jan 29;9(1):45. doi: 10.1038/s41398-019-0386-9.

Using phenome-wide association to investigate the function of a schizophrenia risk locus at SLC39A8.

Author information

1
Center for Quantitative Health, Division of Clinical Research and Center for Human Genetic Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, 02114, USA.
2
Center for Quantitative Health, Division of Clinical Research and Center for Human Genetic Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, 02114, USA. rperlis@partners.org.

Abstract

While nearly all common genomic variants associated with schizophrenia have no known function, one corresponds to a missense variant associated with change in efficiency of a metal ion transporter, ZIP8, coded by SLC39A8. This variant has been linked to a range of phenotypes and is believed to be under recent selection pressure, but its impact on health is poorly understood. We sought to understand phenotypic implications of this variant in a large genomic biobank using an unbiased phenome-wide approach. Specifically, we generated 50 topics based on diagnostic codes using latent Dirichlet allocation, and examined them for association with the risk variant. Then, any significant topics were further characterized by examining association with individual diagnostic codes contributing to the topic. Among 50 topics, 1 was associated at an experiment-wide significance threshold (beta = 0.003, uncorrected p = 0.00049), comprising predominantly brain-related codes, including intracranial hemorrhage, cerebrovascular disease, and delirium/dementia. These results suggest that a functional variant previously associated with schizophrenia risk also increases liability to cerebrovascular disease. They further illustrate the utility of a topic-based approach to phenome-wide association.

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