Hair Cortisol in Twins: Heritability and Genetic Overlap with Psychological Variables and Stress-System Genes

Liz Rietschel, Fabian Streit, Gu Zhu, Kerrie McAloney, Josef Frank, Baptiste Couvy-Duchesne, Stephanie H. Witt, Tina M. Binz, (CORNET) Consortium, Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Hair cortisol concentration (HCC) is a promising measure of long-Term hypothalamus-pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis activity. Previous research has suggested an association between HCC and psychological variables, and initial studies of inter-individual variance in HCC have implicated genetic factors. However, whether HCC and psychological variables share genetic risk factors remains unclear. The aims of the present twin study were to: (i) assess the heritability of HCC; (ii) estimate the phenotypic and genetic correlation between HPA axis activity and the psychological variables perceived stress, depressive symptoms, and neuroticism; using formal genetic twin models and molecular genetic methods, i.e. polygenic risk scores (PRS). HCC was measured in 671 adolescents and young adults. These included 115 monozygotic and 183 dizygotic twin-pairs. For 432 subjects PRS scores for plasma cortisol, major depression, and neuroticism were calculated using data from large genome wide association studies. The twin model revealed a heritability for HCC of 72%. No significant phenotypic or genetic correlation was found between HCC and the three psychological variables of interest. PRS did not explain variance in HCC. The present data suggest that HCC is highly heritable. However, the data do not support a strong biological link between HCC and any of the investigated psychological variables.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15351
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Cite this

Rietschel, L., Streit, F., Zhu, G., McAloney, K., Frank, J., Couvy-Duchesne, B., ... Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) (2017). Hair Cortisol in Twins: Heritability and Genetic Overlap with Psychological Variables and Stress-System Genes. Scientific Reports, 7(1), [15351]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-11852-3
Rietschel, Liz ; Streit, Fabian ; Zhu, Gu ; McAloney, Kerrie ; Frank, Josef ; Couvy-Duchesne, Baptiste ; Witt, Stephanie H. ; Binz, Tina M. ; (CORNET) Consortium ; Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC). / Hair Cortisol in Twins : Heritability and Genetic Overlap with Psychological Variables and Stress-System Genes. In: Scientific Reports. 2017 ; Vol. 7, No. 1.
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abstract = "Hair cortisol concentration (HCC) is a promising measure of long-Term hypothalamus-pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis activity. Previous research has suggested an association between HCC and psychological variables, and initial studies of inter-individual variance in HCC have implicated genetic factors. However, whether HCC and psychological variables share genetic risk factors remains unclear. The aims of the present twin study were to: (i) assess the heritability of HCC; (ii) estimate the phenotypic and genetic correlation between HPA axis activity and the psychological variables perceived stress, depressive symptoms, and neuroticism; using formal genetic twin models and molecular genetic methods, i.e. polygenic risk scores (PRS). HCC was measured in 671 adolescents and young adults. These included 115 monozygotic and 183 dizygotic twin-pairs. For 432 subjects PRS scores for plasma cortisol, major depression, and neuroticism were calculated using data from large genome wide association studies. The twin model revealed a heritability for HCC of 72{\%}. No significant phenotypic or genetic correlation was found between HCC and the three psychological variables of interest. PRS did not explain variance in HCC. The present data suggest that HCC is highly heritable. However, the data do not support a strong biological link between HCC and any of the investigated psychological variables.",
author = "Liz Rietschel and Fabian Streit and Gu Zhu and Kerrie McAloney and Josef Frank and Baptiste Couvy-Duchesne and Witt, {Stephanie H.} and Binz, {Tina M.} and Bolton, {Jennifer L.} and Caroline Hayward and Nese Direk and Anna Anderson and Jennifer Huffman and Wilson, {James F.} and Harry Campbell and Igor Rudan and Alan Wright and Nicholas Hastie and Wild, {Sarah H.} and Velders, {Fleur P.} and Albert Hofman and Uitterlinden, {Andre G.} and Jari Lahti and Katri R{\"a}ikk{\"o}nen and Eero Kajantie and Elisabeth Widen and Aarno Palotie and Eriksson, {Johan G.} and Marika Kaakinen and J{\"a}rvelin, {Marjo Riitta} and Timpson, {Nicholas J.} and {Davey Smith}, George and Ring, {Susan M.} and Evans, {David M.} and {St Pourcain}, Beate and Toshiko Tanaka and Yuri Milaneschi and Stefania Bandinelli and Luigi Ferrucci and {Van Der Harst}, Pim and Bakker, {Stephen Jl} and Beekman, {Aartjan Tf} and Rick Jansen and Middeldorp, {Christel M.} and Peyrot, {Wouter J.} and Danielle Posthuma and Robert Schoevers and Smit, {Johannes H.} and {Van Grootheest}, Gerard and Penninx, {Brenda Wjh} and {(CORNET) Consortium} and {Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC)}",
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Rietschel, L, Streit, F, Zhu, G, McAloney, K, Frank, J, Couvy-Duchesne, B, Witt, SH, Binz, TM, (CORNET) Consortium & Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) 2017, 'Hair Cortisol in Twins: Heritability and Genetic Overlap with Psychological Variables and Stress-System Genes' Scientific Reports, vol. 7, no. 1, 15351. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-11852-3

Hair Cortisol in Twins : Heritability and Genetic Overlap with Psychological Variables and Stress-System Genes. / Rietschel, Liz; Streit, Fabian; Zhu, Gu; McAloney, Kerrie; Frank, Josef; Couvy-Duchesne, Baptiste; Witt, Stephanie H.; Binz, Tina M.; (CORNET) Consortium; Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC).

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 7, No. 1, 15351, 01.12.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Rietschel, Liz

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AU - Zhu, Gu

AU - McAloney, Kerrie

AU - Frank, Josef

AU - Couvy-Duchesne, Baptiste

AU - Witt, Stephanie H.

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AU - Direk, Nese

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AU - Huffman, Jennifer

AU - Wilson, James F.

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AU - Lahti, Jari

AU - Räikkönen, Katri

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AU - Widen, Elisabeth

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AU - Eriksson, Johan G.

AU - Kaakinen, Marika

AU - Järvelin, Marjo Riitta

AU - Timpson, Nicholas J.

AU - Davey Smith, George

AU - Ring, Susan M.

AU - Evans, David M.

AU - St Pourcain, Beate

AU - Tanaka, Toshiko

AU - Milaneschi, Yuri

AU - Bandinelli, Stefania

AU - Ferrucci, Luigi

AU - Van Der Harst, Pim

AU - Bakker, Stephen Jl

AU - Beekman, Aartjan Tf

AU - Jansen, Rick

AU - Middeldorp, Christel M.

AU - Peyrot, Wouter J.

AU - Posthuma, Danielle

AU - Schoevers, Robert

AU - Smit, Johannes H.

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AU - Penninx, Brenda Wjh

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AU - Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC)

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