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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CAT reports the following financial disclosures: American Psychiatric Association, Deputy Editor; Astellas, Ad Hoc Consultant; Autifony, Ad Hoc Consultant; The Brain and Behavior Foundation, Council Member; Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals, Ad Hoc Consultant; Intra-cellular Therapies (ITI), Advisory Board, drug development; Institute of Medicine, Council Member; National Academy of Medicine, Council Member; Pfizer, Ad Hoc Consultant; Sunovion, Investigator Initiated grant funding. JAS reports the following financial disclosures: ad hoc consultant to Takeda Pharmaceuticals. The remaining authors declare no conflict of interest.
We thank the study participants who contributed their time and effort to participate in this study. We also thank Gunvant Thaker, MD, for his many scientific contributions to the B-SNIP consortium especially in regards to the eye movement studies. This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (Grant Numbers MH077851 (CAT), MH078113 (MSK), MH077945 (GDP), MH077852 (GKT), MH085485 (BAC), MH077862 (JAS) and MH083888 (JRB)). This work was further supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany (to RL and JS).
© The Author(s) 2017.