Mol Psychiatry. 2024 Apr 1. doi: 10.1038/s41380-024-02516-6. Online ahead of print.


Genetic factors contribute to the susceptibility of psychotic disorders, but less is known how they affect psychotic disease-course development. Utilizing polygenic scores (PGSs) in combination with longitudinal healthcare data with decades of follow-up we investigated the contributing genetics to psychotic disease-course severity and diagnostic shifts in the SUPER-Finland study, encompassing 10 403 genotyped individuals with a psychotic disorder. To longitudinally track the study participants’ past disease-course severity, we created a psychiatric hospitalization burden metric using the full-coverage and nation-wide Finnish in-hospital registry (data from 1969 and onwards). Using a hierarchical model, ranking the psychotic diagnoses according to clinical severity, we show that high schizophrenia PGS (SZ-PGS) was associated with progression from lower ranked psychotic disorders to schizophrenia (OR = 1.32 [1.23-1.43], p = 1.26e-12). This development manifested already at psychotic illness onset as a higher psychiatric hospitalization burden, the proxy for disease-course severity. In schizophrenia (n = 5 479), both a high SZ-PGS and a low educational attainment PGS (EA-PGS) were associated with increased psychiatric hospitalization burden (p = 1.00e-04 and p = 4.53e-10). The SZ-PGS and the EA-PGS associated with distinct patterns of hospital usage. In individuals with high SZ-PGS, the increased hospitalization burden was composed of longer individual hospital stays, while low EA-PGS associated with shorter but more frequent hospital visits. The negative effect of a low EA-PGS was found to be partly mediated via substance use disorder, a major risk factor for hospitalizations. In conclusion, we show that high SZ-PGS and low EA-PGS both impacted psychotic disease-course development negatively but resulted in different disease-course trajectories.

PMID:38556557 | DOI:10.1038/s41380-024-02516-6