Heritable changes in regional cortical thickness with age

It is now well established that regional indices of brain structure such as cortical thickness, surface area or grey matter volume exhibit spatially variable patterns of heritability. However, a recent study found these patterns to change with age during development, a result supported by gene expression studies. Changes in heritability have not been investigated in adulthood so far and could have important implications in the study of heritability and genetic correlations in the brain as well as in the discovery of specific genes explaining them.

Brain Imaging Behav. 2014 Jun;8(2):208-16. doi: 10.1007/s11682-014-9296-x. Epub 2014 Apr 22.

Chouinard-Decorte F1, McKay DR, Reid A, Khundrakpam B, Zhao L, Karama S, Rioux P, Sprooten E, Knowles E, Kent JW Jr, Curran JE, Göring HH, Dyer TD, Olvera RL, Kochunov P, Duggirala R, Fox PT, Almasy L, Blangero J, Bellec P, Evans AC, Glahn DC.

 

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  1. McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, QC, H3A 2B4, Canada.
Test of incomplete pleiotropy over age a Surface representation of clusters 2, 5 and 8 where significant estimates of λG were found. The gray area of the color scale marks the Bonferroni corrected threshold for significance (p = 0.006). b Genetic correlation decay functions for all clusters based on Eq. 6 and estimates of λG. The asterisk is set above the three functions where the effects were significant. The color coding of networks in 2B corresponds to the one used in Fig. 1d

It is now well established that regional indices of brain structure such as cortical thickness, surface area or grey matter volume exhibit spatially variable patterns of heritability. However, a recent study found these patterns to change with age during development, a result supported by gene expression studies. Changes in heritability have not been investigated in adulthood so far and could have important implications in the study of heritability and genetic correlations in the brain as well as in the discovery of specific genes explaining them. Herein, we tested for genotype by age (G ×A) interactions, an extension of genotype by environment interactions, through adulthood and healthy aging in 902 subjects from the Genetics of Brain Structure (GOBS) study. A “jackknife” based method for the analysis of stable cortical thickness clusters (JASC) and scale selection is also introduced. Although additive genetic variance remained constant throughout adulthood, we found evidence for incomplete pleiotropy across age in the cortical thickness of paralimbic and parieto-temporal areas. This suggests that different genetic factors account for cortical thickness heritability at different ages in these regions.

PMID:24752552 | PMCID:PMC4205107 | DOI:10.1007/s11682-014-9296-x

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