The vulnerability-stress-model has gained much attention in mental disorders as it nicely captures the multifactorial nature of the disorders. During the last years, research activities aimed to identify biological and genetic components that operate in interaction with psychosocial factors like stressful life-events and urbanicity within this model increasing or lowering ones vulnerability for mental disorders.
In our symposium we will highlight new genetic, epigenetic and brain imaging findings based on innovative methods and samples.
T. Kircher reports about new data on different environmental risk factors for mental illness such as high paternal age, childhood abuse and migration as well as genetic and epigenetic factors on structural and functional brain changes.
H. Walter will present new data on the impact of genome-wide significant polygenic risk for mental disorders on brain structure and cognitive factors mediating these effects. The results will be discussed with relation to the question which effects indicate pathomechanisms and which compensatory effects.
H. Grabe will present new data on effects of vitamin D, polygenetic risk scores of depressive disorders and genes of the serotonergic system on depressive disorders. Decreases of vitamin D serum levels and childhood trauma act synergistically to increase depressive symptoms. Results from the SHIP-LEGEND & TREND study (currently N=3300 subjects with MRI scans) further suggests that low levels of vitamin D also accelerate brain aging. These effects will be investigated with regard to putative interactions with psychosocial stressors and the genetic background.
A. Meyer-Lindenberg will present new results using novel machine learning approaches to identify a reproducible blood DNA-methylation signature specific for schizophrenia that was correlated with altered functional DLPFC-HC coupling during working memory and mapped to methylation differences found in DLPFC postmortem samples.