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  • Hlushchenko, Iryna; Khanal, Pushpa; Abouelezz, Amr; Paavilainen, Ville O.; Hotulainen, Pirta (2018)
    Many actin cytoskeleton-regulating proteins control dendritic spine morphology and density, which are cellular features often altered in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Recent studies using animal models show that autism-related behavior can be rescued by either manipulating actin regulators or by reversing dendritic spine density or morphology. Based on these studies, the actin cytoskeleton is a potential target pathway for developing new ASD treatments. Thus, it is important to understand how different ASD-associated actin regulators contribute to the regulation of dendritic spines and how ASD-associated mutations modulate this regulation. For this study, we selected five genes encoding different actin-regulating proteins and induced ASD-associated de novo missense mutations in these proteins. We assessed the functionality of the wild-type and mutated proteins by analyzing their subcellular localization, and by analyzing the dendritic spine phenotypes induced by the expression of these proteins. As the imbalance between excitation and inhibition has been suggested to have a central role in ASD, we additionally evaluated the density, size and subcellular localization of inhibitory synapses. Common for all the proteins studied was the enrichment in dendritic spines. ASD-associated mutations induced changes in the localization of alpha-actinin-4, which localized less to dendritic spines, and for SWAP-70 and SrGAP3, which localized more to dendritic spines. Among the wild-type proteins studied, only alpha-actinin-4 expression caused a significant change in dendritic spine morphology by increasing the mushroom spine density and decreasing thin spine density. We hypothesized that mutations associated with ASD shift dendritic spine morphology from mushroom to thin spines. An M554V mutation in alpha-actinin-4 (ACTN4) resulted in the expected shift in dendritic spine morphology by increasing the density of thin spines. In addition, we observed a trend toward higher thin spine density withmutations inmyosin IXb and SWAP-70. Myosin IIb and myosin IXb expression increased the proportion of inhibitory synapses in spines. The expression of mutated myosin IIb (Y265C), SrGAP3 (E469K), and SWAP-70 (L544F) induced variable changes in inhibitory synapses.
  • Gonda, Yuko; Namba, Takashi; Hanashima, Carina (2020)
    The formation of the neocortex relies on intracellular and extracellular signaling molecules that are involved in the sequential steps of corticogenesis, ranging from the proliferation and differentiation of neural progenitor cells to the migration and dendrite formation of neocortical neurons. Abnormalities in these steps lead to disruption of the cortical structure and circuit, and underly various neurodevelopmental diseases, including dyslexia and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In this review, we focus on the axon guidance signaling Slit-Robo, and address the multifaceted roles of Slit-Robo signaling in neocortical development. Recent studies have clarified the roles of Slit-Robo signaling not only in axon guidance but also in progenitor cell proliferation and migration, and the maturation of neocortical neurons. We further discuss the etiology of neurodevelopmental diseases, which are caused by defects in Slit-Robo signaling during neocortical formation.
  • Boku, Shuken; Takeshi, Izumi; Abe, Seiji; Takahashi, Tomohisa; Nishi, Akira; Nomaru, Hiroko; Naka, Yasuhiko; Kang, Gina; Nagashima, Masako; Hishimoto, Akitoyo; Hishimoto, Akitoyo; Enomoto, Shingo; Duran Torres, Gilberto; Tanigaki, Kenji; Zhang, Jinghang; Ye, Kenny; Kato, Shigeki; Männistö, Pekka Topias; Kobayashi, Kazuto; Hiroi, Noboru (2018)
    Working memory capacity, a critical component of executive function, expands developmentally from childhood through adulthood. Anomalies in this developmental process are seen in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), schizophrenia and intellectual disabilities (ID), implicating this atypical process in the trajectory of developmental neuropsychiatric disorders. However, the cellular and neuronal substrates underlying this process are not understood. Duplication and triplication of copy number variants of 22q11.2 are consistently and robustly associated with cognitive deficits of ASD and ID in humans, and overexpression of small 22q11.2 segments recapitulates dimensional aspects of developmental neuropsychiatric disorders in mice. We capitalized on these two lines of evidence to delve into the cellular substrates for this atypical development of working memory. Using a region- and cell-type-selective gene expression approach, we demonstrated that copy number elevations of catechol-O-methyl-transferase (COMT) or Tbx1, two genes encoded in the two small 22q11.2 segments, in adult neural stem/progenitor cells in the hippocampus prevents the developmental maturation of working memory capacity in mice. Moreover, copy number elevations of COMT or Tbx1 reduced the proliferation of adult neural stem/progenitor cells in a cell-autonomous manner in vitro and migration of their progenies in the hippocampus granular layer in vivo. Our data provide evidence for the novel hypothesis that copy number elevations of these 22q11.2 genes alter the developmental trajectory of working memory capacity via suboptimal adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus.
  • EuroEPINOMICS-RES Consortium; Heyne, Henrike O.; Linnankivi, Tarja; Palotie, Aarno; Daly, Mark J.; Lehesjoki, Anna-Elina (2018)
    Epilepsy is a frequent feature of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), but little is known about genetic differences between NDDs with and without epilepsy. We analyzed de novo variants (DNVs) in 6,753 parent-offspring trios ascertained to have different NDDs. In the subset of 1,942 individuals with NDDs with epilepsy, we identified 33 genes with a significant excess of DNVs, of which SNAP25 and GABRB2 had previously only limited evidence of disease association. Joint analysis of all individuals with NDDs also implicated CACNA1E as a novel disease-associated gene. Comparing NDDs with and without epilepsy, we found missense DNVs, DNVs in specific genes, age of recruitment, and severity of intellectual disability to be associated with epilepsy. We further demonstrate the extent to which our results affect current genetic testing as well as treatment, emphasizing the benefit of accurate genetic diagnosis in NDDs with epilepsy.
  • Videman, Mari; Stjerna, Susanna; Roivainen, Reina; Nybo, Taina; Vanhatalo, Sampsa; Gaily, Eija; Leppanen, Jukka M. (2016)
    Introduction: Prenatal antiepileptic drug (AED) exposure is associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment and autism spectrum disorders detected mainly at the age of two to six years. We examined whether the developitiental aberrations associated with prenatal AED exposure-could be-detected already in infancy and whether effects on visual attention can be observed at this early age. Material and methods: We compared a prospective cohort of infants with in utero exposure to AED (n = 56) with infants without drug exposures (n = 62). The assessments performed at the age of seven months included standardized neurodevelopmental scores (Griffiths Mental Developmental Scale and Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination) as well as a novel eye-tracking-based test for visual attention and orienting to faces. Background information included prospective collection of AED exposure data, pregnancy outcome, neuropsychological evaluation of the mothers, and information on maternal epilepsy type. Results: Carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, and valproate, but not lamotrigine or levetiracetam, were associated with impaired early language abilities at the age of seven months. The general speed of visuospatial orienting or attentional bias for faces measured by eye-tracker-based tests did not differ between AED-exposed and control infants. Discussion: Our findings support the idea that prenatal AED exposure may impair verbal abilities, and this effect may be detected already in infancy. In contrast, the early development of attention to faces was spared after in utero AED exposure. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Malm, Heli; Brown, Alan S.; Gissler, Mika; Gyllenberg, David; Hinkka-Yli-Salomaki, Susanna; McKeague, Ian W.; Weissman, Myrna; Wickramaratne, Priya; Artama, Miia; Gingrich, Jay A.; Sourander, Andre (2016)
    Objective: To investigate the impact of gestational exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on offspring neurodevelopment. Method: This is a cohort study using national register data in Finland between the years 1996 and 2010. Pregnant women and their offspring were categorized into 4 groups: SSRI exposed (n = 15,729); exposed to psychiatric disorder, no antidepressants (n = 9,651); exposed to SSRIs only before pregnancy (n = 7,980); and unexposed to antidepressants and psychiatric disorders (n = 31,394). We investigated the cumulative incidence of offspring diagnoses of depression, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for the 4 groups from birth to 14 years, adjusting for confounders. Results: The cumulative incidence of depression among offspring exposed prenatally to SSRIs was 8.2% (95% CI = 3.1-13.3%) by age 14.9 years, compared with 1.9% (95% CI = 0.9-2.9%) in the psychiatric disorder, no medication group (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] = 1.78; 95% CI = 1.12-2.82; p=.02) and to 2.8% (95% CI = 1.4-4.3%) in the SSRI discontinued group (HR = 1.84; 95% CI = 1.14-2.97; p=.01). Rates of anxiety, ASD, and ADHD diagnoses were comparable to rates in offspring of mothers with a psychiatric disorder but no medication during pregnancy. Comparing SSRI exposed to unexposed individuals, the HRs were significantly elevated for each outcome. Conclusion: Prenatal SSRI exposure was associated with increased rates of depression diagnoses in early adolescence but not with ASD or ADHD. Until confirmed, these findings must be balanced against the substantial adverse consequences of untreated maternal depression.
  • Gambin, Tomasz; Yuan, Bo; Bi, Weimin; Liu, Pengfei; Rosenfeld, Jill A.; Coban-Akdemir, Zeynep; Pursley, Amber N.; Nagamani, Sandesh C. S.; Marom, Ronit; Golla, Sailaja; Dengle, Lauren; Petrie, Heather G.; Matalon, Reuben; Emrick, Lisa; Proud, Monica B.; Treadwell-Deering, Diane; Chao, Hsiao-Tuan; Koillinen, Hannele; Brown, Chester; Urraca, Nora; Mostafavi, Roya; Bernes, Saunder; Roeder, Elizabeth R.; Nugent, Kimberly M.; Bader, Patricia I.; Bellus, Gary; Cummings, Michael; Northrup, Hope; Ashfaq, Myla; Westman, Rachel; Wildin, Robert; Beck, Anita E.; Immken, LaDonna; Elton, Lindsay; Varghese, Shaun; Buchanan, Edward; Faivre, Laurence; Lefebvre, Mathilde; Schaaf, Christian P.; Walkiewicz, Magdalena; Yang, Yaping; Kang, Sung-Hae L.; Lalani, Seema R.; Bacino, Carlos A.; Beaudet, Arthur L.; Breman, Amy M.; Smith, Janice L.; Cheung, Sau Wai; Lupski, James R.; Patel, Ankita; Shaw, Chad A.; Stankiewicz, Pawel (2017)
    Background: Exon-targeted microarrays can detect small ( Methods: We retrospectively analyzed data from 63,127 patients referred for clinical chromosomal microarray analysis (CMA) at Baylor Genetics laboratories, including 46,755 individuals tested using exon-targeted arrays, from 2007 to 2017. Small CNVs harboring a single gene or two to five non-disease-associated genes were identified; the genes involved were evaluated for a potential disease association. Results: In this clinical population, among rare CNVs involving any single gene reported in 7200 patients (11%), we identified 145 de novo autosomal CNVs (117 losses and 28 intragenic gains), 257 X-linked deletion CNVs in males, and 1049 inherited autosomal CNVs (878 losses and 171 intragenic gains); 111 known disease genes were potentially disrupted by de novo autosomal or X-linked (in males) single-gene CNVs. Ninety-one genes, either recently proposed as candidate disease genes or not yet associated with diseases, were disrupted by 147 singlegene CNVs, including 37 de novo deletions and ten de novo intragenic duplications on autosomes and 100 X-linked CNVs in males. Clinical features in individuals with de novo or X-linked CNVs encompassing at most five genes (224 bp to 1.6 Mb in size) were compared to those in individuals with larger-sized deletions (up to 5 Mb in size) in the internal CMA database or loss-of-function single nucleotide variants (SNVs) detected by clinical or research whole-exome sequencing (WES). This enabled the identification of recently published genes (BPTF, NONO, PSMD12, TANGO2, and TRIP12), novel candidate disease genes (ARGLU1 and STK3), and further confirmation of disease association for two recently proposed disease genes (MEIS2 and PTCHD1). Notably, exon-targeted CMA detected several pathogenic single-exon CNVs missed by clinical WES analyses. Conclusions: Together, these data document the efficacy of exon-targeted CMA for detection of genic and exonic CNVs, complementing and extending WES in clinical diagnostics, and the potential for discovery of novel disease genes by genome-wide assay.
  • Eating Disorder Working Grp Psych; Huckins, L. M.; Palotie, A.; Palta, P.; Kaprio, J.; Keski-Rahkonen, A.; Raevuori, A. H. (2018)
    Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder presenting with dangerously low body weight, and a deep and persistent fear of gaining weight. To date, only one genome-wide significant locus associated with AN has been identified. We performed an exome-chip based genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in 2158 cases from nine populations of European origin and 15 485 ancestrally matched controls. Unlike previous studies, this GWAS also probed association in low-frequency and rare variants. Sixteen independent variants were taken forward for in silico and de novo replication (11 common and 5 rare). No findings reached genome-wide significance. Two notable common variants were identified: rs10791286, an intronic variant in OPCML (P = 9.89 x 10(-6)), and rs7700147, an intergenic variant (P = 2.93 x 10(-5)). No low-frequency variant associations were identified at genome-wide significance, although the study was well-powered to detect low-frequency variants with large effect sizes, suggesting that there may be no AN loci in this genomic search space with large effect sizes.
  • Castel, Stephane E.; Cervera, Alejandra; Mohammadi, Pejman; Aguet, Francois; Reverter, Ferran; Wolman, Aaron; Guigo, Roderic; Iossifov, Ivan; Vasileva, Ana; Lappalainen, Tuuli (2018)
    Coding variants represent many of the strongest associations between genotype and phenotype; however, they exhibit interindividual differences in effect, termed 'variable penetrance'. Here, we study how cis-regulatory variation modifies the penetrance of coding variants. Using functional genomic and genetic data from the Genotype-Tissue Expression Project (GTEx), we observed that in the general population, purifying selection has depleted haplotype combinations predicted to increase pathogenic coding variant penetrance. Conversely, in cancer and autism patients, we observed an enrichment of penetrance increasing haplotype configurations for pathogenic variants in disease-implicated genes, providing evidence that regulatory haplotype configuration of coding variants affects disease risk. Finally, we experimentally validated this model by editing a Mendelian single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) using CRISPR/Cas9 on distinct expression haplotypes with the transcriptome as a phenotypic readout. Our results demonstrate that joint regulatory and coding variant effects are an important part of the genetic architecture of human traits and contribute to modified penetrance of disease-causing variants.
  • Ueda, Riyo; Okada, Takashi; Kita, Yosuke; Ozawa, Yuri; Inoue, Hisami; Shioda, Mutsuki; Kono, Yoshimi; Kono, Chika; Nakamura, Yukiko; Amemiya, Kaoru; Ito, Ai; Sugiura, Nobuko; Matsuoka, Yuichiro; Kaiga, Chinami; Kubota, Masaya; Ozawa, Hiroshi (2021)
    Background: This study seeks to ascertain how the COVID-19 stay-at-home period has affected the quality of life (QOL) of children with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) who had experienced sleep schedules alteration and clarify what psychological status predicted low QOL in children with and without altered sleep patterns. Materials and Methods: Study participants were 86 children between 8 and 17 years of age (mean age, 11.7 years; 70 boys, 16 girls; mean intellectual quotient, 83.6). QOL was evaluated using the self-assessment KINDL(R). Participants answered questions regarding depression and anxiety on a visual analog scale (VAS) for temporary mood. Their parents answered questionnaires regarding their maladaptive behaviors and differences in sleep patterns before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The student's t-test was performed to examine the presence or absence of sleep changes in the children, which affected QOL, temporary mood, and maladaptive behaviors. Multiple or simple linear regression analyses were also performed to identify the psychogenic factors that significantly affected decreased QOL for each group with and without changes in sleep schedule. Results: During the COVID-19 stay-at-home period, 46.5% of participants experienced changes in sleep patterns. These changes were associated with decreased QOL as well as internalized symptoms. The decreased QOL of children with sleep patterns changed was predicted by a high level of depression. In addition, low QOL in children with unchanged sleep patterns was predicted by a high level of depression and low current mood status. Conclusions: Almost half of the participants experienced a poor sleep schedule during the stay-at-home period. These alterations in sleep patterns were associated with a low QOL. The QOL of children with a stable life schedule was affected not only by depressive tendencies but also temporary moods. Therefore, they need to live a fulfilling life to maintain their QOL. However, the QOL of children with poor sleep patterns was affected only by depressive tendencies. Hence, clinicians need to ensure that children with NDDs are well-diagnosed with depression and treated for sleep problems.
  • Sarkar, Amar; Harty, Siobhan; Johnson, Katerina V-A; Moeller, Andrew H.; Carmody, Rachel N.; Lehto, Soili M.; Erdman, Susan E.; Dunbar, Robin I. M.; Burnet, Philip W. J. (2020)
    Microbes colonise all multicellular life, and the gut microbiome has been shown to influence a range of host physiological and behavioural phenotypes. One of the most intriguing and least understood of these influences lies in the domain of the microbiome's interactions with host social behaviour, with new evidence revealing that the gut microbiome makes important contributions to animal sociality. However, little is known about the biological processes through which the microbiome might influence host social behaviour. Here, we synthesise evidence of the gut microbiome's interactions with various aspects of host sociality, including sociability, social cognition, social stress, and autism. We discuss evidence of microbial associations with the most likely physiological mediators of animal social interaction. These include the structure and function of regions of the 'social' brain (the amygdala, the prefrontal cortex, and the hippocampus) and the regulation of 'social' signalling molecules (glucocorticoids including corticosterone and cortisol, sex hormones including testosterone, oestrogens, and progestogens, neuropeptide hormones such as oxytocin and arginine vasopressin, and monoamine neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine). We also discuss microbiome-associated host genetic and epigenetic processes relevant to social behaviour. We then review research on microbial interactions with olfaction in insects and mammals, which contribute to social signalling and communication. Following these discussions, we examine evidence of microbial associations with emotion and social behaviour in humans, focussing on psychobiotic studies, microbe-depression correlations, early human development, autism, and issues of statistical power, replication, and causality. We analyse how the putative physiological mediators of the microbiome-sociality connection may be investigated, and discuss issues relating to the interpretation of results. We also suggest that other candidate molecules should be studied, insofar as they exert effects on social behaviour and are known to interact with the microbiome. Finally, we consider different models of the sequence of microbial effects on host physiological development, and how these may contribute to host social behaviour.