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Transl Psychiatry. 2017 Oct 24;7(10):e1249. doi: 10.1038/tp.2017.210.

Genome-wide association studies of smooth pursuit and antisaccade eye movements in psychotic disorders: findings from the B-SNIP study.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Otto Creutzfeldt Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany.
Minnesota Supercomputing Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.
Department of Neurology, University of Luebeck, Luebeck, Germany.
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, BioImaging Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deacones Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.
Departments of Psychiatry and Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
Institute of Living, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota College of Medicine, Minneapolis, MN, USA.


Eye movement deviations, particularly deficits of initial sensorimotor processing and sustained pursuit maintenance, and antisaccade inhibition errors, are established intermediate phenotypes for psychotic disorders. We here studied eye movement measures of 849 participants from the Bipolar-Schizophrenia Network on Intermediate Phenotypes (B-SNIP) study (schizophrenia N=230, schizoaffective disorder N=155, psychotic bipolar disorder N=206 and healthy controls N=258) as quantitative phenotypes in relation to genetic data, while controlling for genetically derived ancestry measures, age and sex. A mixed-modeling genome-wide association studies approach was used including ~4.4 million genotypes (PsychChip and 1000 Genomes imputation). Across participants, sensorimotor processing at pursuit initiation was significantly associated with a single nucleotide polymorphism in IPO8 (12p11.21, P=8 × 10-11), whereas suggestive associations with sustained pursuit maintenance were identified with SNPs in SH3GL2 (9p22.2, P=3 × 10-8). In participants of predominantly African ancestry, sensorimotor processing was also significantly associated with SNPs in PCDH12 (5q31.3, P=1.6 × 10-10), and suggestive associations were observed with NRSN1 (6p22.3, P=5.4 × 10-8) and LMO7 (13q22.2, P=7.3x10-8), whereas antisaccade error rate was significantly associated with a non-coding region at chromosome 7 (P=6.5 × 10-9). Exploratory pathway analyses revealed associations with nervous system development and function for 40 top genes with sensorimotor processing and pursuit maintenance (P=4.9 × 10-2-9.8 × 10-4). Our findings suggest novel patterns of genetic variation relevant for brain systems subserving eye movement control known to be impaired in psychotic disorders. They include genes involved in nuclear trafficking and gene silencing (IPO8), fast axonal guidance and synaptic specificity (PCDH12), transduction of nerve signals (NRSN1), retinal degeneration (LMO7), synaptic glutamate release (SH3GL2), and broader nervous system development and function.

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