Johnston KJA, Adams MJ, Nicholl BI, Ward J, Strawbridge RJ, McIntosh AM, Smith DJ, Bailey MES.

Translational Psychiatry (2019) 9: 310

Abstract: Chronic pain is a complex trait that is moderately heritable and genetically, as well as phenotypically, correlated with major depressive disorder (MDD). Use of the conditional false discovery rate (cFDR) approach, which leverages pleiotropy identified from existing GWAS outputs, has been successful in discovering novel associated variants in related phenotypes. Here, genome-wide association study outputs for both von Korff chronic pain grade and for MDD were used to identify variants meeting a cFDR threshold for each outcome phenotype separately, as well as a conjunctional cFDR (ccFDR) threshold for both phenotypes together. Using a moderately conservative threshold, we identified a total of 11 novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), six of which were associated with chronic pain grade and nine of which were associated with MDD. Four SNPs on chromosome 14 were associated with both chronic pain grade and MDD. SNPs associated only with chronic pain grade were located within SLC16A7 on chromosome 12. SNPs associated only with MDD were located either in a gene-dense region on chromosome 1 harbouring LINC01360, LRRIQ3, FPGT and FPGT-TNNI3K, or within/close to LRFN5 on chromosome 14. The SNPs associated with both outcomes were also located within LRFN5. Several of the SNPs on chromosomes 1 and 14 were identified as being associated with expression levels of nearby genes in the brain and central nervous system. Overall, using the cFDR approach, we identified several novel genetic loci associated with chronic pain and we describe likely pleiotropic effects of a recently identified MDD locus on chronic pain.