A recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry has revealed a genetic overlap between schizophrenia and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. The research, led by Linn Rødevand, PhD, at the Norwegian Center for Mental Disorders Research, aimed to better understand the shared genetic underpinnings of these conditions.
The findings indicate that individuals with schizophrenia have a genetic propensity to smoking and a reduced genetic risk of obesity. The study analyzed genome-wide association study (GWAS) results and found extensive genetic overlap between schizophrenia and CVD risk factors, with a focus on body mass index (BMI) and smoking initiation.
The results highlight the importance of environmental factors in the development of obesity and other CVD comorbidities among individuals with schizophrenia. Several specific shared locations were identified between schizophrenia and waist-to-hip ratio, blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, lipids, and coronary artery disease.
The genetic overlap between schizophrenia and smoking behavior suggests that individuals with schizophrenia may be more affected by nicotine’s addictive properties. The authors note that smoking may serve as a form of self-medication for patients with schizophrenia.
In addition, the study found that people with schizophrenia are genetically predisposed to lower BMI. However, obesity is still more prevalent among individuals with schizophrenia compared to the general population. Factors other than common genetic variants, such as antipsychotic medication, symptoms, depression, and socioeconomic challenges, play a significant role in weight gain among individuals with schizophrenia.
The overlapping genetic locations between schizophrenia and various cardiovascular disease risk factors had mixed effect directions. This suggests that subgroups of people with schizophrenia may differ in their genetic vulnerability to CVD, which may explain the variations in CVD comorbidity observed among patients.
In conclusion, this study sheds light on the shared genetic underpinnings of schizophrenia and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Understanding these genetic overlaps can provide valuable insights into the development and treatment of both conditions.
– “Characterizing the Shared Genetic Underpinnings of Schizophrenia and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors.” American Journal of Psychiatry.
– Norwegian Center for Mental Disorders Research at the University of Oslo.