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Rantalainen, V, Binder, EB, Lahti-Pulkkinen, M, et al. Polygenic prediction of the risk of perinatal depressive symptoms. Depression and Anxiety. 2020; 37: 862– 875.

Polygenic prediction of the risk of perinatal depressive symptoms

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Author: Rantalainen, Ville1; Binder, Elisabeth B.2; Lahti‐Pulkkinen, Marius1,3,4;
Organizations: 1Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
2Department of Translational Research in Psychiatry, Max‐Planck‐Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany
3Pulic Health Promotion Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
4University/British Heart Foundation Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Queen's Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
5Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, EBCOG Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University Hospital and Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
6Department of Medical and Clinical Genetics, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
7Institute for Molecular Medicine, Helsinki Institute of Life Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
8Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
9Department of Clinical Chemistry, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
10Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Medicine, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-11-24


Background: Perinatal depression carries adverse effects on maternal health and child development, but genetic underpinnings remain unclear. We investigated the polygenic risk of perinatal depressive symptoms.

Methods: About 742 women from the prospective Prediction and Prevention of Pre-eclampsia and Intrauterine Growth Restriction cohort were genotyped and completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale 14 times during the prenatal period and twice up to 12 months postpartum. Polygenic risk scores for major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and cross-disorder were calculated using multiple p-value thresholds.

Results: Polygenic risk scores for major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and cross-disorder, but not bipolar disorder, were associated with higher prenatal and postpartum depressive symptoms (0.8%–1% increase per one standard deviation increase in polygenic risk scores). Prenatal depressive symptoms accounted for and mediated the associations between the polygenic risk scores and postpartum depressive symptoms (effect size proportions-mediated: 52.2%–88.0%). Further, the polygenic risk scores were associated with 1.24–1.45-fold odds to belong to the group displaying consistently high compared with consistently low depressive symptoms through out the prenatal and postpartum periods.

Conclusions: Polygenic risk scores for major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and cross-disorder in non-perinatal populations generalize to perinatal depressive symptoms and may afford to identify women for timely preventive interventions.

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Series: Depression & anxiety
ISSN: 1091-4269
ISSN-E: 1520-6394
ISSN-L: 1091-4269
Volume: 37
Issue: 9
Pages: 862 - 875
DOI: 10.1002/da.23066
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Funding: Academy of Finland, European Commission (Horizon 2020 Award SC1-2016-RTD-733280 RECAP), European Commission Dynamics of Inequality Across the Life-course: structures and processes (DIAL) No. 724363 for PremLife, Foundation for Pediatric Research, the Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the Sigrid Juselius Foundation, and the Juho Vainio Foundation.
Copyright information: © 2020 The Authors. Depression and Anxiety published by Wiley Periodicals LLC. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.