Specific genes in placenta may predict size of baby's brain
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A genetic scoring of schizophrenia-related genes in the placenta can predict the size of a baby's brain at birth and its rate of cognitive development, which, dependent on other factors, may lead to schizophrenia later in life, according to a study.

In a study published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) researchers analyze whether fractionated genomic risk scores for schizophrenia and other developmental disorders and traits, based on placental gene-expression loci (PlacGRSs), are linked with early neurodevelopmental outcomes in individuals with a history of early-life complications (ELCs).

They found that schizophrenia’s PlacGRSs are negatively associated with neonatal brain volume in singletons and offspring of multiple pregnancies and, in singletons, with cognitive development at 1 y and, less strongly, at 2 y, when cognitive scores become more sensitive to other factors.

These negative associations are stronger in males, found only with genomic risk scores for schizophrenia (GRSs) fractionated by placental gene expression, and not found in PlacGRSs for other developmental disorders and traits.

In particular, the higher placental genomic risk for schizophrenia, in the presence of ELCs and particularly in males, alters early brain growth and function, defining a potentially reversible neurodevelopmental path of risk that may be unique to schizophrenia.

Source: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2019789118
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