Early manifestations of genetic risk for neurodevelopmental disorders
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2021. 10.1111/jcpp.13528
Background: Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (autism) and schizophrenia are highly heritable neurodevelopmental disorders, affecting the lives of many individuals. It is important to increase our understanding of how the polygenic risk for neurodevelopmental disorders manifests during childhood in boys and girls. Methods: Polygenic risk scores (PRS) for ADHD, autism and schizophrenia were calculated in a subsample of 15 205 children from the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). Mother-reported traits of repetitive behavior, social communication, language and motor difficulties, hyperactivity and inattention were measured in children at 6 and 18 months, 3, 5 and 8 years. Linear regression models in a multigroup framework were used to investigate associations between the three PRS and dimensional trait measures in MoBa, using sex as a grouping variable. Results: Before the age of 2, the ADHD PRS was robustly associated with hyperactivity and inattention, with increasing strength up to 8 years, and with language difficulties at age 5 and 8. The autism PRS was robustly associated with language difficulties at 18 months, motor difficulties at 36 months, and hyperactivity and inattention at 8 years. We did not identify robust associations for the schizophrenia PRS. In general, the PRS associations were similar in boys and girls. The association between ADHD PRS and hyperactivity at 18 months was, however, stronger in boys. Conclusions: Polygenic risk for autism and ADHD in the general population manifests early in childhood and broadly across behavioral measures of neurodevelopmental traits.