Genetic Links Between Schizophrenia, CVD Explored

Evidence suggests that liability to schizophrenia causally increases the risk of heart failure and early repolarization pattern, but a shared genetic etiology seems not to underlie the association between schizophrenia and cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study published online Nov. 3 in the Schizophrenia Bulletin.

Rada R. Veeneman, from the University of Amsterdam, and colleagues obtained summary data of genome-wide association studies of schizophrenia, heart failure, coronary artery disease, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate variability, QT interval, and early repolarization and dilated cardiomyopathy electrocardiogram patterns. Genetic correlations were computed and causality was assessed in bidirectional Mendelian randomization (MR).

The researchers found that the genetic correlations were close to zero for schizophrenia and CVD (−0.02 to 0.04). Evidence suggested that liability to schizophrenia causally increased the risk of heart failure. The correlation remained consistent with multivariable MR. Evidence was also seen indicating that liability to schizophrenia increased early repolarization pattern, which was mediated mainly by body mass index and lipids. In addition, evidence was observed that liability to schizophrenia increased heart rate variability; the direction of effect was in contrast to clinical studies.

“The lack of evidence for genetic correlation between schizophrenia and CVD is striking, given consistent phenotypic correlations and the fact that a considerable amount of the risk variants for schizophrenia are located in genes relevant for cardiological functioning,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text