Genetic architecture of hippocampal subfields on standard resolution MRI: How the parts relate to the whole.

Published on Apr 1, 2019in Human Brain Mapping4.421
· DOI :10.1002/HBM.24464
Jeremy A. Elman15
Estimated H-index: 15
(UCSD: University of California, San Diego),
Matthew S. Panizzon35
Estimated H-index: 35
(UCSD: University of California, San Diego)
+ 9 AuthorsWilliam S. Kremen70
Estimated H-index: 70
(UCSD: University of California, San Diego)
Author(s): Elman, JA; Panizzon, MS; Gillespie, NA; Hagler, DJ; Fennema-Notestine, C; Eyler, LT; McEvoy, LK; Neale, MC; Lyons, MJ; Franz, CE; Dale, AM; Kremen, WS | Abstract: The human hippocampus can be subdivided into subfields with unique functional properties and differential vulnerability to disease or neuropsychiatric conditions. Identifying genes that confer susceptibility to such processes is an important goal in developing treatments. Recent advances in automatic subfield segmentation from magnetic resonance images make it possible to use these measures as phenotypes in large-scale genome-wide association studies. Such analyses are likely to rely largely on standard resolution (~1 mm isotropic) T1 -weighted images acquired on 3.0T scanners. Determining whether the genetic architecture of subfields can be detected from such images is therefore an important step. We used Freesurfer v6.0 to segment hippocampal subfields in two large twin studies, the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging and the Human Connectome Project. We estimated heritability of subfields and the genetic overlap with total hippocampal volume. Heritability was similar across samples, but little genetic variance remained after accounting for genetic influences on total hippocampal volume. Importantly, we examined genetic relationships between subfields to determine whether subfields can be grouped based on a smaller number of underlying, genetically independent factors. We identified three genetic factors in both samples, but the high degree of cross loadings precluded formation of genetically distinct groupings of subfields. These results confirm the reliability of Freesurfer v6.0 generated subfields across samples for phenotypic analyses. However, the current results suggest that it will be difficult for large-scale genetic analyses to identify subfield-specific genes that are distinct from both total hippocampal volume and other subfields using segmentations generated from standard resolution T1 -weighted images.
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