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Several GWAS reported Myocyte Enhancer Factor 2 C (MEF2C) gene associations with white matter microstructure and psychiatric disorders, and MEF2C involvement in pathways related to neuronal development suggests a common biological factor underlying these phenotypes. We aim to refine the MEF2C effects in the brain relying on an integrated analysis of white matter and psychiatric phenotypes in an extensively characterized sample. This study included 870 Brazilian adults (47% from an attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder outpatient clinic) assessed through standardized psychiatric interviews, 139 of which underwent a magnetic resonance imaging scan. We evaluated variants in the MEF2C region using two approaches: 1) a gene-wide analysis, which uses the sum of polymorphism effects, and 2) SNP analyses, restricted to the independent variants within the gene. The outcomes included psychiatric phenotypes and fractional anisotropy for brain images. Results: The gene-wide analyses pointed to a nominal association between MEF2C and the Temporal Portion of the Superior Longitudinal Fasciculus (SLFTEMP). The SNP analysis identified four independent variants significantly associated with SLFTEMP and one (rs4218438) with Substance Use Disorder. Our findings showing specific associations of MEF2C variants with temporal-frontal circuitry components may help to elucidate how the MEF2C gene underlies a broad range of psychiatric phenotypes since these regions are relevant to executive and cognitive functions. © 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature.


Maria Eduarda de Araujo Tavares, Renata Basso Cupertino, Cibele Edom Bandeira, Bruna Santos da Silva, Eduardo Schneider Vitola, Carlos Alberto Iglesias Salgado, Robson Dos Santos Soares, Felipe Almeida Picon, Luis Augusto Rohde, Diego Luiz Rovaris, Eugenio Horacio Grevet, Claiton Henrique Dotto Bau. Refining patterns of MEF2C effects in white matter microstructure and psychiatric features. Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996). 2023 May;130(5):697-706

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PMID: 37002331

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