Polygenic risk scores for antisocial behavior in relation to amygdala morphology across an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder case-control sample with and without disruptive behavior

Renee Kleine Deters*, I. Hyun Ruisch, Stephen V. Faraone, Catharina A. Hartman, Marjolein Luman, Barbara Franke, Jaap Oosterlaan, Jan K. Buitelaar, Jilly Naaijen, Andrea Dietrich, Pieter J. Hoekstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Antisocial and aggressive behaviors show considerable heritability and are central to disruptive behavior disorders (DBDs), but are also frequently observed in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While the amygdala is implicated as a key neural structure, it remains unclear whether common genetic variants underlie this brain-behavior association. We hypothesized that polygenic (risk) scores for antisocial and aggressive behaviors (ASB-PRS) would be related to amygdala morphology. Using the Broad Antisocial Behavior Consortium genome-wide association study (GWAS; mostly population based cohorts), we calculated ASB-PRS in the NeuroIMAGE I ADHD case-control sample with varying levels of DBD symptomatology (n=679 from 379 families, aged 7 – 29). We first investigated associations of several ASB-PRS p value thresholds with the presence of DBD symptoms and self-reported antisocial behavior (ASB) to determine the threshold for further analyses. This PRS was then related to amygdala volume and shape using regression and vertex-wise analyses. Our results showed associations of ASB-PRS with the presence of DBD symptoms, self-reported ASB, and left basolateral amygdala shape, independent of ADHD symptom severity and ADHD-PRS, with a relative outward displacement of the vertices. No associations of ASB-PRS, DBD symptoms or self-reported ASB with amygdala volume were found. Our results indicate that genetic risk for antisocial and aggressive behaviors is related to amygdala shape alterations, and point to genetic sharing across different DBD and ASB and aggression-related phenotypes as a spectrum of genetically related quantitative traits. Additionally, our findings support the utility of vertex-based shape analyses in genetic studies of ASB, aggression, and DBDs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-73
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022

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