Author(s): Warrier V, BaronCohen S, Chakrabarti B
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Autism spectrum conditions (ASC) are associated with deficits in social interaction and communication, alongside repetitive, restricted, and stereotyped behavior. ASC is highly heritable. The gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic system has been associated consistently with atypicalities in autism, in both genetic association and expression studies. A key component of the GABA-ergic system is encoded by the GABRB3 gene, which has been previously implicated both in ASC and in individual differences in empathy. METHODS: In this study, 45 genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within GABRB3 were tested for association with Asperger syndrome (AS), and related quantitative traits measured through the following tests: the Empathy Quotient (EQ), the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ), the Systemizing Quotient-Revised (SQ-R), the Embedded Figures Test (EFT), the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET), and the Mental Rotation Test (MRT). Two-loci, three-loci, four-loci haplotype analyses, and one seven-loci haplotype analysis were also performed in the AS case-control sample. RESULTS: Three SNPs (rs7180158, rs7165604, rs12593579) were significantly associated with AS, and two SNPs (rs9806546, rs11636966) were significantly associated with EQ. Two SNP-SNP pairs, rs12438141-rs1035751 and rs12438141-rs7179514, showed significant association with variation in the EFT scores. One SNP-SNP pair, rs7174437-rs1863455, was significantly associated with variation in the MRT scores. Additionally, a few haplotypes, including a 19 kb genomic region that formed a linkage disequilibrium (LD) block in our sample and contained several nominally significant SNPs, were found to be significantly associated with AS. CONCLUSION: The current study confirms the role of GABRB3 as an important candidate gene in both ASC and normative variation in related endophenotypes.
This article was published in Mol Autism
and referenced in Autism-Open Access