"We confirmed results of previous studies of anorexia nervosa: SNPs in the gene OPRD1 and near the gene HTR1D confer risk for the disease," said Hakonarson. "We did not detect other obvious candidate genes, but we did generate a list of other genes that we are analyzing in follow-up studies." One SNP is between the CHD10 and CHD9 genes, a region that Hakonarson associated with autism spectrum disorders in 2009. Called cadherin genes, CHD10 and CHD9 code for neuronal cell-adhesion moleculesproteins that influence how neurons communicate with each other in the brain.
The current anorexia study also investigated CNVsdeletions or duplications of DNA sequences. Previous research by Hakonarson and others has shown that CNVs play a significant role in other neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism.
The current study suggests that CNVs may play a less important role in anorexia than they do in schizophrenia and autism. Nonetheless, the researchers identified several rare CNVs that occurred only in AN cases, including a deletion of DNA on a region of chromosome 13.
"Our study suggests that both common SNPs and rare CNVs contribute to the pathogenesis of anorexia nervosa," said Hakonarson. "The gene variants we discovered are worthy of further analysis in independent cohorts. However, the relatively modest number of anorexia cases explained by these results we found suggests that many other candidate genes remain unknown. Future studies will require much larger sample sizes to detect additional gene variants involved in this complex disorder."
|Contact: John Ascenzi|
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia