Genetic Association Analysis of 300 Genes Identifies a Risk Haplotype in SLC18A2 for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Two Independent Samples
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The genetic architecture of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remains poorly understood with the vast majority of genetic association studies reporting on single candidate genes. We conducted a large genetic study in trauma-exposed European-American women (N=2538; 845 PTSD cases, 1693 controls) by testing 3742 SNPs across more than 300 genes and conducting polygenic analyses using results from the Psychiatric Genome-Wide Association Studies Consortium (PGC). We tested the association between each SNP and two measures of PTSD, a severity score and diagnosis. We found a significant association between PTSD (diagnosis) and SNPs (top SNP: rs363276, odds ratio (OR)=1.4, p=2.1E-05) in SLC18A2 (vesicular monoamine transporter 2). A haplotype analysis of 9 SNPs in SLC18A2, including rs363276, identified a risk haplotype (CGGCGGAAG, p=0.0046), and the same risk haplotype was associated with PTSD in an independent cohort of trauma-exposed African-Americans (p=0.049; N=748, men and women). SLC18A2 is involved in transporting monoamines to synaptic vesicles and has been implicated in a number of neuropsychiatric disorders including major depression. Eight genes previously associated with PTSD had SNPs with nominally significant associations (p<0.05). The polygenic analyses suggested that there are SNPs in common between PTSD severity and bipolar disorder. Our data are consistent with a genetic architecture for PTSD that is highly polygenic, influenced by numerous SNPs with weak effects, and may overlap with mood disorders. Genome-wide studies with very large samples sizes are needed to detect these types of effects.
author list (cited authors)
Solovieff, N., Roberts, A. L., Ratanatharathorn, A., Haloosim, M., De Vivo, I., King, A. P., ... Koenen, K. C.