Suggestive linkage at 9p22 in bipolar disorder weighted by alcohol abuse

Erika F.H. Saunders, Peng Zhang, J. Nathan Copeland, Melvin G. McInnis, Sebastian Zöllner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Bipolar disorder (BP) is a highly heritable disorder, however attempts to map genetic risk factors are challenging. One possible reason for these difficulties is the genetic heterogeneity of BP. Hence, focusing on clinically homogeneous families to create a geneticallymorehomogeneoussamplemayincrease the power of finding a specific variant. Alcohol abuse (AA) and alcohol dependence (AD) are familial in BP families, and these families may carry a specific risk variant for BP.Wetested this hypothesis by performing a genome-wide linkage scan in 638 pedigrees (1,835 individuals) from the National Institute of Mental Health Genetics Initiative for BP, weighting the evidence for linkage according to the family's frequency of AA or AD. Using AA weighting, we identified a linkage region on 9p22.2 with an NPL score of 3.23. The region had previously beenidentified in a metaanalysis of linkage in bipolar disorder. We used permutation analysis to assess if weighting by AA increased the linkage signal more than expected by chance and observed a significant P-value (P=0.048). Therefore, the genetic risk factor for BP on 9p22.2 has an increased effect in families with high levels of AA. In summary, we present an example of using covariates such as AA and AD to define subtypes of BP, demonstrate how using such subtypes can improve the power of a linkage scan, and demonstrate statistical approaches to validate the suggested interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1133-1138
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 5 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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