Potential role for immune-related genes in autism spectrum disorders: Evidence from genome-wide association meta-analysis of autistic traits
SourceAutism, 26, 2, (2022), pp. 361-372
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Memory & Emotion
Subject130 000 Cognitive Neurology & Memory; Radboudumc 15: Urological cancers RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 7: Neurodevelopmental disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Autism spectrum disorders are complex, with a strong genetic basis. Genetic research in autism spectrum disorders is limited by the fact that these disorders are largely heterogeneous so that patients are variable in their clinical presentations. To address this limitation, we investigated the genetics of individual dimensions of the autism spectrum disorder phenotypes, or autistic-like traits. These autistic-like traits are continuous variations in autistic behaviours that occur in the general population. Therefore, we meta-analysed data from four different population cohorts in which autistic-like traits were measured. We performed a set of genetic analyses to identify common variants for autistic-like traits, understand how these variants related to autism spectrum disorders, and how they contribute to neurobiological processes. Our results showed genetic associations with specific autistic-like traits and a link to the immune system. We offer an example of the potential to use a dimensional approach when dealing with heterogeneous, complex disorder like autism spectrum disorder. Decomposing the complex autism spectrum disorder phenotype in its core features can inform on the specific biology of these features which is likely to account to clinical variability in patients.
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