Genetic survival analysis of age-at-onset of bipolar disorder: evidence for anticipation or cohort effect in families

Peter Visscher, M H Yazdi, A D Jackson, M Schalling, K Lindblad, Q P Yuan, D Porteous, W J Muir, D H Blackwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Age-at-onset (AAO) in a number of extended families ascertained for bipolar disorder was analysed using survival analysis techniques, fitting proportional hazards models to estimate the fixed effects of sex, year of birth, and generation, and a random polygenic genetic effect. Data comprised the AAO (for 171 affecteds) or age when last seen (ALS) for 327 unaffecteds, on 498 individuals in 27 families. ALS was treated as the censored time in the statistical analyses. The majority of individuals classified as affected were diagnosed with bipolar I and II (n = 103) or recurrent major depressive disorder (n = 68). In addition to the significant effects of sex and year of birth, a fitted 'generation' effect was highly significant, which could be interpreted as evidence for an anticipation effect. The risk of developing bipolar or unipolar disorder increased twofold with each generation descended from the oldest founder. However, although information from both affected and unaffected individuals was used to estimate the relative risk of subsequent generations, it is possible that the results are biased because of the 'Penrose effect'. Females had a twofold increased risk in developing depressive disorder relative to males. The risk of developing bipolar or unipolar disorder increased by approximately 4% per year of birth. A polygenic component of variance was estimated, resulting in a 'heritability' of AAO of approximately 0.52. In a family showing strong evidence of linkage to chromosome 4p (family 22), the 'affected haplotype' increased the relative risk of being affected by a factor of 46. In this family, there was strong evidence of a time trend in the AAO. When either year of birth or generation was fitted in the model, these effects were highly significant, but neither was significant in the presence of the other. For this family, there was no increase in trinucleotide repeats measured by the repeat expansion detection method in affected individuals compared with control subjects. Proportional hazard models appear appropriate to analyse AAO data, and the methodology will be extended to map quantitative trait loci (QTL) for AAO.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-37
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatric Genetics
Volume11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Age of Onset
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Cohort Studies
  • Family
  • Female
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Survival Analysis

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