King's College, London, UK
Title: DNA methylation and psychotic experiences at age 18
Biography: Anwesha Dutta
The clinical relevance of psychotic phenomena has been observed to gradually increase in the late adolescent years of an individual. Several genetic studies investigating potential biomarker, underlying such complex psychotic experiences have shown considerable within-pair discordance among the monozygotic (MZ) twins. Consequently, the results highlighted a possible association of non-genetic factors in the onset of complex psychotic symptoms. The study aimed at identifying the differential DNA methylation patterns in age 18 MZ twins discordant for psychotic experiences which may be influential in the onset of psychotic phenotypes. About 124 pairs of MZ discordant twins from E-risk Longitudinal Twin study cohort were analyzed for differential methylation patterns corresponding to the within-pair differences (after adjusting for smoking in pack-years) among the affected twins and unaffected co-twins. Out of 52 significant probes identified after methylation analysis, the top probe cg09027255 (Δβ= 0.013, P= 7.37×10-7), showed consistent variation in DNA methylation patterns across each discordant MZ twin pair. The pathway analysis of the significant DMP associated genes explained networks like Wnt-protein binding which had been previously associated with major psychotic disorders. The study was first of its kind in investigating the association of epigenetic variations with the manifestation of psychotic experiences in adolescents by examining the DNA methylation patterns from whole blood samples of MZ discordant twins. The promising outcomes encourage further investigation to uncover the underlying epigenetic biomarkers involved in the onset of major psychosis for designing better targeted preventive measures in the future.