Structural and Functional Neuroimaging of Polygenic Risk for Schizophrenia: A Recall-by-Genotype–Based Approach

Thomas M. Lancaster*, Stavros L. Dimitriadis, Katherine E. Tansey, Gavin Perry, Niklas Ihssen, Derek K. Jones, Krish D. Singh, Peter Holmans, Andrew Pocklington, George Davey Smith, Stan Zammit, Jeremy Hall, Michael C. O'Donovan, Michael J. Owen, David Edmund Johannes Linden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Risk profile scores (RPS) derived from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) explain a considerable amount of susceptibility for schizophrenia (SCZ). However, little is known about how common genetic risk factors for SCZ influence the structure and function of the human brain, largely due to the constraints of imaging sample sizes. In the current study, we use a novel recall-by-genotype (RbG) methodological approach, where we sample young adults from a population cohort (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children: N genotyped = 8365) based on their SCZ-RPS. We compared 197 healthy individuals at extremes of low (N = 99) or high (N = 98) SCZ-RPS with behavioral tests, and structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We first provide methodological details that will inform the design of future RbG studies for common SCZ genetic risk. We further provide an between group analysis of the RbG individuals (low vs high SCZ-RPS) who underwent structural neuroimaging data (T1—weighted scans) and fMRI data during a reversal learning task. While we found little evidence for morphometric differences between the low and high SCZ-RPS groups, we observed an impact of SCZ-RPS on blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal during reward processing in the ventral striatum (PFWE-VS-CORRECTED = .037), a previously investigated broader reward-related network (PFWE-ROIS-CORRECTED = .008), and across the whole brain (PFWE-WHOLE-BRAIN-CORRECTED = .013). We also describe the study strategy and discuss specific challenges of RbG for SCZ risk (such as SCZ-RPS related homoscedasticity). This study will help to elucidate the behavioral and imaging phenotypes that are associated with SCZ genetic risk.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbersby037
Pages (from-to)405-414
Number of pages10
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number2
Early online date28 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2019


  • imaging genetics
  • reward processing
  • recall-by-genotype
  • polygenic
  • schizophrenia


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  • NIHR BRC Mental Health

    Gunnell, D. J.


    Project: Research, Parent

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