High genetic loading for schizophrenia predicts poor response to lithium in patients with bipolar disorder: A polygenic score and cross-trait genetic analysis

Azmeraw T. Amare, Klaus Oliver Schubert, The International Consortium on Lithium Genetics, Thomas G. Schulze, Bernhard Baune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Lithium is a first-line mood stabilizer for the maintenance treatment of Bipolar Disorder (BPD). However, the efficacy of lithium varies widely, with a non-response rate of up to 30%. Biological response markers and predictors are lacking. Objective: Genetic factors are thought to mediate lithium treatment response, and the previously reported genetic overlap between BPD and schizophrenia (SCZ) led us to test whether a polygenic score (PGS) for SCZ could predict lithium treatment response in BPD. Further, we explored the potential molecular underpinnings of this association. Design: Weighted SCZ PGSs were computed at ten p-value thresholds (PT) using summary statistics from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 36,989 SCZ cases, and genotype data for BPD patients from the Consortium on Lithium Genetics (ConLi+Gen). For functional exploration, we performed a cross-trait meta-GWAS and pathway analysis, combining GWAS summary statistics on SCZ and lithium treatment response. Setting: International multicenter GWAS. Participants: Patients with BPD who had undergone lithium treatment were genotyped and retrospectively assessed for long-term treatment response (n=2,586). Main outcome measures: Clinical treatment response to lithium was defined on both the categorical and continuous scales using the ALDA score. The effect measures include odds ratios (ORs) and the proportion of variance explained (R2), and a significant association was determined at p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209270
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2017

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