Background: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has a complex etiology involving both genetic and environmental factors. However, the genetic causes of OCD are largely unknown, despite the identification of several promising candidate genes and linkage regions. Methods: Our objective was to conduct genetic linkage studies of the type of OCD thought to have the strongest genetic etiology (i.e., childhood-onset OCD), in 33 Caucasian families with <2 childhood-onset OCD-affected individuals from the United States (n = 245 individuals with genotype data). Parametric and nonparametric genome-wide linkage analyses were conducted with Morgan and Merlin in these families using a selected panel of single nucleotide repeat polymorphisms from the Illumina 610-Quad Bead Chip. The initial analyses were followed by fine-mapping analyses in genomic regions with initial heterogeneity logarithm of odds (HLOD) scores of <2.0. Results: We identified five areas of interest (HLOD score <2) on chromosomes 1p36, 2p14, 5q13, 6p25, and 10p13. The strongest result was on chromosome 1p36.33-p36.32 (HLOD = 3.77, suggestive evidence for linkage after fine mapping). At this location, several of the families showed haplotypes co-segregating with OCD. Conclusions: The results of this study represent the strongest linkage finding for OCD in a primary analysis to date and suggest that chromosome 1p36, and possibly several other genomic regions, may harbor susceptibility loci for OCD. Multiple brain-expressed genes lie under the primary linkage peak (approximately 4 megabases in size). Follow-up studies, including replication in additional samples and targeted sequencing of the areas of interest, are needed to confirm these findings and to identify specific OCD risk variants.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by grants to CAM from the National Center for Research Resources ( K23 RR015533 ), the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders , the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation , and the Althea Foundation ; to GLH from the National Institute of Mental Health ( K20 MH 01065 and R01 MH 58376 ) and the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation ; and to DAC from the National Institute of Mental Health ( K01 MH072952 ).