VISN 20 Mental Illness Research

Seattle, WA, United States

VISN 20 Mental Illness Research

Seattle, WA, United States
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Poorkaj P.,University of Washington | Raskind W.H.,University of Washington | Raskind W.H.,VISN 20 Mental Illness Research | Leverenz J.B.,University of Washington | And 18 more authors.
Movement Disorders | Year: 2010

The parkinsonian syndromes comprise a highly heterogeneous group of disorders. Although 15 loci are linked to predominantly familial Parkinson's disease (PD), additional PD loci are likely to exist. We recently identified a multigenerational family of Danish and German descent in which five males in three generations presented with a unique syndrome characterized by parkinsonian features and variably penetrant spasticity for which X-linked disease transmission was strongly suggested (XPDS). Autopsy in one individual failed to reveal synucleinopathy; however, there was a significant four-repeat tauopathy in the striatum. Our objective was to identify the locus responsible for this unique parkinsonian disorder. Members of the XPDS family were genotyped for markers spanning the X chromosome. Two-point and multipoint linkage analyses were performed and the candidate region refined by analyzing additional markers. A multipoint LODmax score of 2.068 was obtained between markers DXS991 and DXS993. Haplotype examination revealed an ∼20 cM region bounded by markers DXS8042 and DXS1216 that segregated with disease in all affected males and obligate carrier females and was not carried by unaffected at-risk males. To reduce the possibility of a false-positive linkage result, multiple loci and genes associated with other parkinsonian or spasticity syndromes were excluded. In conclusion, we have identified a unique X-linked parkinsonian syndrome with variable spasticity and four-repeat tau pathology, and defined a novel candidate gene locus spanning ∼28 Mb from Xp11.2-Xq13.3. © 2010 Movement Disorder Society.


Chen Y.-Z.,University of Washington | Matsushita M.,University of Washington | Girirajan S.,University of Washington | Lisowski M.,University of Washington | And 18 more authors.
American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics | Year: 2012

Structural variations in the chromosome 22q11.2 region mediated by nonallelic homologous recombination result in 22q11.2 deletion (del22q11.2) and 22q11.2 duplication (dup22q11.2) syndromes. The majority of del22q11.2 cases have facial and cardiac malformations, immunologic impairments, specific cognitive profile and increased risk for schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The phenotype of dup22q11.2 is frequently without physical features but includes the spectrum of neurocognitive abnormalities. Although there is substantial evidence that haploinsufficiency for TBX1 plays a role in the physical features of del22q11.2, it is not known which gene(s) in the critical 1.5Mb region are responsible for the observed spectrum of behavioral phenotypes. We identified an individual with a balanced translocation 46,XY,t(1;22)(p36.1;q11.2) and a behavioral phenotype characterized by cognitive impairment, autism, and schizophrenia in the absence of congenital malformations. Using somatic cell hybrids and comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) we mapped the chromosome-22 breakpoint within intron 7 of the GNB1L gene. Copy number evaluations and direct DNA sequencing of GNB1L in 271 schizophrenia and 513 autism cases revealed dup22q11.2 in two families with autism and private GNB1L missense variants in conserved residues in three families (P=0.036). The identified missense variants affect residues in the WD40 repeat domains and are predicted to have deleterious effects on the protein. Prior studies provided evidence that GNB1L may have a role in schizophrenia. Our findings support involvement of GNB1L in ASDs as well. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


PubMed | University of Pennsylvania, University of Colorado at Denver, Stanford University, University of California at Los Angeles and 5 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Schizophrenia research | Year: 2016

Past studies describe numerous endophenotypes associated with schizophrenia (SZ), but many endophenotypes may overlap in information they provide, and few studies have investigated the utility of a multivariate index to improve discrimination between SZ and healthy community comparison subjects (CCS). We investigated 16 endophenotypes from the first phase of the Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia, a large, multi-site family study, to determine whether a subset could distinguish SZ probands and CCS just as well as using all 16. Participants included 345 SZ probands and 517 CCS with a valid measure for at least one endophenotype. We used both logistic regression and random forest models to choose a subset of endophenotypes, adjusting for age, gender, smoking status, site, parent education, and the reading subtest of the Wide Range Achievement Test. As a sensitivity analysis, we re-fit models using multiple imputations to determine the effect of missing values. We identified four important endophenotypes: antisaccade, Continuous Performance Test-Identical Pairs 3-digit version, California Verbal Learning Test, and emotion identification. The logistic regression model that used just these four endophenotypes produced essentially the same results as the model that used all 16 (84% vs. 85% accuracy). While a subset of endophenotypes cannot replace clinical diagnosis nor encompass the complexity of the disease, it can aid in the design of future endophenotypic and genetic studies by reducing study cost and subject burden, simplifying sample enrichment, and improving the statistical power of locating those genetic regions associated with schizophrenia that may be the easiest to identify initially.


PubMed | University of Pennsylvania, University of Colorado at Denver, Stanford University, University of California at Los Angeles and 5 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2014

The children of older fathers have increased risks of developing schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and among those who develop these disorders, those with older fathers present with more severe clinical symptoms. However, the influence of advanced paternal age on other important domains related to schizophrenia, such as quantitative endophenotype deficit levels, remains unknown. This study investigated the associations between paternal age and level of endophenotypic impairment in a well-characterized family-based sample from the Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia (COGS). All families included at least one affected subject and one unaffected sibling. Subjects met criteria for schizophrenia (probands; n=293) or were unaffected first-degree siblings of those probands (n=382). Paternal age at the time of subjects birth was documented. Subjects completed a comprehensive clinical assessment and a battery of tests that measured 16 endophenotypes. After controlling for covariates, potential paternal age-endophenotype associations were analyzed using one model that included probands alone and a second model that included both probands and unaffected siblings. Endophenotype deficits in the Identical Pairs version of the 4-digit Continuous Performance Test and in the Penn Computerized Neurocognitive Battery verbal memory test showed significant associations with paternal age. However, after correcting for multiple comparisons, no endophenotype was significantly associated with paternal age. These findings suggest that factors other than advanced paternal age at birth may account for endophenotypic deficit levels in schizophrenia.


Rasmussen D.D.,VISN 20 Mental Illness Research | Rasmussen D.D.,VA Puget Sound Health Care System | Rasmussen D.D.,University of Washington | Kincaid C.L.,VA Puget Sound Health Care System | And 2 more authors.
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research | Year: 2015

Background: Prazosin (PRZ; an α1-adrenergic receptor antagonist) and naltrexone (NTX; a nonspecific opioid receptor antagonist) each decrease alcohol drinking when administered to rats selectively bred for high voluntary alcohol drinking (alcohol-preferring or "P"), and the combination of PRZ + NTX decreases alcohol drinking more effectively than does either drug alone. As drug responsiveness can depend on history of alcohol drinking and dependence, we investigated whether various schedules of PRZ and NTX administration, alone or in combination, are effective in decreasing alcohol drinking in male P rats with a history of protracted voluntary alcohol drinking, dependence, and repeated withdrawals closely resembling human alcoholism. Methods: Male P rats became alcohol-dependent during 1 year of ad libitum 24 h/d access to food, water, and 20% alcohol with repetitive temporary alcohol withdrawals. Four sequential studies then addressed effects of oral PRZ (2 mg/kg) and NTX (10 mg/kg), alone or together, on alcohol drinking during: (i) daily alcohol access with daily drug treatment, (ii) intermittent alcohol access with daily drug treatment, (iii) intermittent alcohol access with occasional drug treatment, and (iv) postdeprivation reinstatement of alcohol access. Results: The combination of PRZ + NTX consistently suppressed alcohol drinking during daily or intermittent alcohol access conditions and when drug treatment was either daily or occasional. PRZ + NTX was consistently more effective than either drug alone. The reduction in alcohol drinking was not due to sedation, motor effects, or malaise. Conclusions: Both daily and "as-needed" treatment with PRZ + NTX are highly effective in suppressing daily, intermittent, and postdeprivation alcohol drinking in male P rats with a protracted history of alcohol dependence and repeated withdrawals. This drug combination may be especially effective for treating individuals with long histories of heavy alcohol abuse, dependence, and repeated relapse, as commonly encountered in clinical practice. © 2015 Research Society on Alcoholism.


O'Neil M.L.,University of Washington | Beckwith L.E.,University of Washington | Kincaid C.L.,University of Washington | Rasmussen D.D.,University of Washington | Rasmussen D.D.,VISN 20 Mental Illness Research
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research | Year: 2013

Background: Evidence supports a role for the noradrenergic system in alcohol drinking in animals and humans. Our previous studies demonstrated the efficacy of prazosin, an α1-adrenergic antagonist, in decreasing alcohol drinking in rat models of alcohol dependence. Prazosin has also been shown to decrease alcohol drinking in treatment-seeking alcohol-dependent men. Clinically, the use of prazosin is limited by the requirement for multiple daily administrations, whereas doxazosin, a structurally similar α1-adrenergic antagonist, requires only once-daily dosing. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that doxazosin, like prazosin, would decrease alcohol drinking in rats selectively bred for alcohol preference (P line). Methods: Adult male P rats were given 2 h/d scheduled access to a 2-bottle choice (15% v/v alcohol vs. water) session 5 d/wk (M-F), with food and water available ad libitum 24 h/d. Rats were injected with doxazosin (0 to 10 mg/kg, IP) 40 minutes prior to initiation of the alcohol access session in 3 trials (of 3, 5, and 5 consecutive days) each separated by 5 to 8 weeks. The third trial included 1 day without alcohol access (for locomotor testing), and 1 day of a single hour of alcohol access (for plasma alcohol determination). Results: Doxazosin significantly reduced alcohol intake in all 3 trials. The 5 mg/kg dose consistently reduced alcohol intake, increased water drinking, did not affect locomotor activity, and resulted in lower plasma alcohol concentrations, suggesting that the doxazosin-induced reduction in alcohol drinking was not dependent on a motor impairment or an alteration in alcohol clearance. Conclusions: Doxazosin decreases voluntary alcohol consumption by male alcohol-preferring (P) rats, supporting a role for the noradrenergic system in alcohol drinking in P rats and suggesting that doxazosin could potentially be an effective once-daily pharmacotherapeutic agent for the treatment of alcohol use disorders. © 2012 by the Research Society on Alcoholism.


Rasmussen D.D.,VISN 20 Mental Illness Research | Rasmussen D.D.,VA Puget Sound Health Care System | Rasmussen D.D.,University of Washington | Beckwith L.E.,VA Puget Sound Health Care System | And 4 more authors.
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research | Year: 2014

Background: Evidence suggests that activation of the noradrenergic system may contribute to alcohol drinking in animals and humans. Our previous studies demonstrated that blocking α1-adrenergic receptors with the antagonist, prazosin, decreased alcohol drinking in rats under various conditions. As noradrenergic activation is also regulated by β-adrenergic receptors, we now examine the effects of the β-adrenergic receptor antagonist, propranolol, alone or in combination with prazosin, on alcohol drinking in rats selectively bred for high voluntary alcohol intake and alcohol preference (P line). Methods: Two studies were conducted with male P rats. In study 1, rats were allowed to become alcohol-dependent during 14 weeks of ad libitum access to food, water, and 20% alcohol, and the effect of propranolol (5 to 15 mg/kg, intraperitoneally [IP]) and prazosin (1 to 2 mg/kg, IP) on alcohol intake during withdrawal was assessed. In study 2, the effect of propranolol (5 mg/kg, IP) and prazosin (2 mg/kg, IP) on alcohol intake following prolonged imposed abstinence was assessed. Results: Alcohol drinking following propranolol treatment was variable, but the combination of propranolol + prazosin consistently suppressed alcohol drinking during both alcohol withdrawal and following prolonged imposed abstinence, and the combination of these 2 drugs was more effective than was treatment with either drug alone. Conclusions: Treatment with prazosin + propranolol, or a combination of other centrally active α1- and β-adrenergic receptor antagonists, may assist in preventing alcohol relapse in some individuals. © 2014 by the Research Society on Alcoholism.


Tsuang D.W.,University of Washington | Tsuang D.W.,VISN 20 Mental Illness Research | Millard S.P.,VISN 20 Mental Illness Research | Ely B.,VISN 20 Mental Illness Research | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: The detection of copy number variants (CNVs) and the results of CNV-disease association studies rely on how CNVs are defined, and because array-based technologies can only infer CNVs, CNV-calling algorithms can produce vastly different findings. Several authors have noted the large-scale variability between CNV-detection methods, as well as the substantial false positive and false negative rates associated with those methods. In this study, we use variations of four common algorithms for CNV detection (PennCNV, QuantiSNP, HMMSeg, and cnvPartition) and two definitions of overlap (any overlap and an overlap of at least 40% of the smaller CNV) to illustrate the effects of varying algorithms and definitions of overlap on CNV discovery. Methodology and Principal Findings: We used a 56 K Illumina genotyping array enriched for CNV regions to generate hybridization intensities and allele frequencies for 48 Caucasian schizophrenia cases and 48 age-, ethnicity-, and gendermatched control subjects. No algorithm found a difference in CNV burden between the two groups. However, the total number of CNVs called ranged from 102 to 3,765 across algorithms. The mean CNV size ranged from 46 kb to 787 kb, and the average number of CNVs per subject ranged from 1 to 39. The number of novel CNVs not previously reported in normal subjects ranged from 0 to 212. Conclusions and Significance: Motivated by the availability of multiple publicly available genome-wide SNP arrays, investigators are conducting numerous analyses to identify putative additional CNVs in complex genetic disorders. However, the number of CNVs identified in array-based studies, and whether these CNVs are novel or valid, will depend on the algorithm(s) used. Thus, given the variety of methods used, there will be many false positives and false negatives. Both guidelines for the identification of CNVs inferred from high-density arrays and the establishment of a gold standard for validation of CNVs are needed.

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