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    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with high phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity. The common variants of specific oxytocin-related genes (OTRGs), particularly OXTR, are associated with the aetiology of ASD. The contribution of rare genetic variations in OTRGs to ASD aetiology remains unclear. We catalogued publicly available de novo mutations (DNMs) [from 6,511 patients with ASD and 3,391 controls], rare inherited variants (RIVs) [from 1,786 patients with ASD and 1,786 controls], and both de novo copy number variations (dnCNVs) and inherited CNVs (ihCNVs) [from 15,581 patients with ASD and 6,017 controls] in 963 curated OTRGs to explore their contribution to ASD pathology, respectively. Finally, a combined model was designed to prioritise the contribution of each gene to ASD aetiology by integrating DNMs and CNVs. The rare genetic variations of OTRGs were significantly associated with ASD aetiology, in the order of dnCNVs > ihCNVs > DNMs. Furthermore, 172 OTRGs and their connected 286 ASD core genes were prioritised to positively contribute to ASD aetiology, including top-ranked MAPK3. Probands carrying rare disruptive variations in these genes were estimated to account for 10∼11% of all ASD probands. Our findings suggest that rare disruptive variations in 172 OTRGs and their connected 286 ASD core genes are associated with ASD aetiology and may be potential biomarkers predicting the effects of oxytocin treatment. Guangdong Key Project, National Natural Science Foundation of China, Key Laboratory of Clinical Laboratory Diagnosis and Translational Research of Zhejiang Province. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Tao Wang, Tingting Zhao, Liqiu Liu, Huajing Teng, Tianda Fan, Yi Li, Yan Wang, Jinchen Li, Kun Xia, Zhongsheng Sun. Integrative analysis prioritised oxytocin-related biomarkers associated with the aetiology of autism spectrum disorder. EBioMedicine. 2022 Jul;81:104091

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    PMID: 35665681

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