What is it about?

We investigated genetic overlap between depression, coronary artery disease and cardiovascular risk factors. Applying novel statistical tools and massive genotyped samples, we found extensive genetic overlap. Depression shared 68% of genetic variants with body mass index and 14% and with systolic blood pressure. We identified 79 unique genomic variants jointly associated with depression and increased cardiovascular disease risk. Loci associated with depression were also associated with coronary artery disease and higher total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein and c-reactive protein levels, while we found a mixed pattern of effect direction for the other risk factors.

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Why is it important?

Persons with depression have an increased risk of developing coronary artery disease and people with cardiovascular disease and depression have worse prognosis. The role of shared genetic factors underlying these relationship are not known.


Our findings implicate shared genetic factors underlying the comorbidity between cardiovascular disease and depressions. Follow up experiments to discover the underlying mechanisms related to the shared genetic variants, can lead to identification of new targets for treatment.

Ole Andreassen
Universitetet i Oslo

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This page is a summary of: Shared genetic loci between depression and cardiometabolic traits, PLoS Genetics, May 2022, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1010161.
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