Polygenic risk for schizophrenia and season of birth within the UK Biobank cohort

Escott-Price, V., Smith, D. J. , Kendall, K., Ward, J. , Kirov, G., Owen, M. J., Walters, J. and O'Donovan, M. C. (2019) Polygenic risk for schizophrenia and season of birth within the UK Biobank cohort. Psychological Medicine, 49(15), pp. 2499-2504. (doi: 10.1017/S0033291718000454) (PMID:29501066)

156580.pdf - Accepted Version



Background: There is strong evidence that people born in winter and in spring have a small increased risk of schizophrenia. As this ‘season of birth’ effect underpins some of the most influential hypotheses concerning potentially modifiable risk exposures, it is important to exclude other possible explanations for the phenomenon. Methods: Here we sought to determine whether the season of birth effect reflects gene-environment confounding rather than a pathogenic process indexing environmental exposure. We directly measured, in 136 538 participants from the UK Biobank (UKBB), the burdens of common schizophrenia risk alleles and of copy number variants known to increase the risk for the disorder, and tested whether these were correlated with a season of birth. Results: Neither genetic measure was associated with season or month of birth within the UKBB sample. Conclusions: As our study was highly powered to detect small effects, we conclude that the season of birth effect in schizophrenia reflects a true pathogenic effect of environmental exposure.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Professor Daniel and O'Donovan, Professor Michael and Ward, Dr Joey
Authors: Escott-Price, V., Smith, D. J., Kendall, K., Ward, J., Kirov, G., Owen, M. J., Walters, J., and O'Donovan, M. C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Psychological Medicine
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1469-8978
Published Online:04 March 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Cambridge University Press
First Published:First published in Psychological Medicine 49(15): 2499-2504
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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