Cross-Disorder Genetic Analysis of Tic Disorders, Obsessive–Compulsive, and Hoarding Symptoms

N. Rodrigues Zilhao Nogueira, D.J.A. Smit, D.I. Boomsma, D.C. Cath

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Hoarding, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and Tourette's disorder (TD) are psychiatric disorders that share symptom overlap, which might partly be the result of shared genetic variation. Population-based twin studies have found significant genetic correlations between hoarding and OCD symptoms, with genetic correlations varying between 0.1 and 0.45. For tic disorders, studies examining these correlations are lacking. Other lines of research, including clinical samples and GWAS or CNV data to explore genetic relationships between tic disorders and OCD, have only found very modest if any shared genetic variation. Our aim was to extend current knowledge on the genetic structure underlying hoarding, OC symptoms (OCS), and lifetime tic symptoms and, in a trivariate analysis, assess the degree of common and unique genetic factors contributing to the etiology of these disorders. Data have been gathered from participants in the Netherlands Twin Register comprising a total of 5293 individuals from a sample of adult monozygotic (n = 2460) and dizygotic (n = 2833) twin pairs (mean age 33.61 years). The data on Hoarding, OCS, and tic symptoms were simultaneously analyzed in Mplus. A liability threshold model was fitted to the twin data, analyzing heritability of phenotypes and of their comorbidity. Following the criteria for a probable clinical diagnosis in all phenotypes, 6.8% of participants had a diagnosis of probable hoarding disorder (HD), 6.3% of OCS, and 12.8% of any probable lifetime tic disorder. Genetic factors explained 50.4, 70.1, and 61.1% of the phenotypic covariance between hoarding-OCS, hoarding-tics, and OCS-tics, respectively. Substantial genetic correlations were observed between hoarding and OCS (0.41), hoarding and tics (0.35), and between OCS and tics (0.37). These results support the contribution of genetic factors in the development of these disorders and their comorbidity. Furthermore, tics were mostly influenced by specific environmental factors unshared with OCS and HD.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Issue number120
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Cohort Studies

  • Netherlands Twin Register (NTR)


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