Large-scale genome analysis identifies differences by sex in
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An analysis of sex differences in the genetics of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorders indicates that while there is substantial genetic overlap between males and females, there are noticeable sex-dependent differences in how genes related to the central nervous system, immune system, and blood vessels affect people with these disorders.

Sex differences in incidence and/or presentation of schizophrenia (SCZ), major depressive disorder (MDD), and bipolar disorder (BIP) are pervasive. Previous evidence for shared genetic risk and sex differences in brain abnormalities across disorders suggest possible shared sex-dependent genetic risk.

Researchers conducted the largest to date genome-wide genotype–by–sex (GxS) interaction of risk for these disorders, using 85,735 cases (33,403 SCZ, 19,924 BIP, 32,408 MDD) and 109,946 controls from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and iPSYCH.

--Across disorders, genome-wide significant SNP-by-sex interaction was detected for a locus encompassing NKAIN2, that interacts with sodium/potassium-transporting ATPase enzymes implicating neuronal excitability.

--Three additional loci showed evidence for cross-disorder GxS interaction implicating various functions.

-- Gene-based analyses identified GxS interaction across disorders with transcriptional inhibitor SLTM.

--Most significant in SCZ was a MOCOS gene locus, implicating vascular endothelial cells. Secondary analysis of the PGC-SCZ dataset detected an interaction in a locus containing IDO2, a kynurenine pathway enzyme with immunoregulatory functions implicated in SCZ, BIP, and MDD.

--Pathway enrichment analysis detected significant GxS of genes regulating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor signaling in MDD.

In the largest genome-wide GxS analysis of mood and psychotic disorders to date, there was substantial genetic overlap between the sexes. However, significant sex-dependent effects were enriched for genes related to neuronal development, immune and vascular functions across and within SCZ, BIP, and MDD at the variant, gene, and pathway enrichment levels.

Biological Psychiatry