Polygenic scores for schizophrenia and general cognitive ability: associations with six cognitive domains, premorbid intelligence, and cognitive composite score in individuals with a psychotic disorder and in healthy controls
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Cognitive impairments are considered core features in schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Cognitive impairments are, to a lesser degree, also documented in healthy first-degree relatives. Although recent studies have shown (negative) genetic correlations between schizophrenia and general cognitive ability, the association between polygenic risk for schizophrenia and individual cognitive phenotypes remains unclear. We here investigated the association between a polygenic score for schizophrenia (SCZPGS) and six well-defined cognitive domains, in addition to a composite measure of cognitive ability and a measure of premorbid intellectual ability in 731 participants with a psychotic disorder and 851 healthy controls. We also investigated the association between a PGS for general cognitive ability (COGPGS) and the same cognitive domains in the same sample. We found no significant associations between the SCZPGS and any cognitive phenotypes, in either patients with a psychotic disorder or healthy controls. For COGPGS we observed stronger associations with cognitive phenotypes in healthy controls than in participants with psychotic disorders. In healthy controls, the association between COGPGS (at the p value threshold of ≥0.01) and working memory remained significant after Bonferroni correction (β = 0.12, p = 8.6 × 10−5). Altogether, the lack of associations between SCZPGS and COGPGS with cognitive performance in participants with psychotic disorders suggests that either environmental factors or unassessed genetic factors play a role in the development of cognitive impairments in psychotic disorders. Working memory should be further studied as an important cognitive phenotype.