No signs of neurodegenerative effects in 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 copy number variant carriers in the UK Biobank

R. Boen*, T. Kaufmann, O. Frei, D. van der Meer, S. Djurovic, O.A. Andreassen, K.K. Selmer, D. Alnaes, I.E. Sonderby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 copy number variant (CNV) is associated with altered brain morphology and risk for atypical development, including increased risk for schizophrenia and learning difficulties for the deletion. However, it is still unclear whether differences in brain morphology are associated with neurodevelopmental or neurodegenerative processes. This study derived morphological brain MRI measures in 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion (n = 124) and duplication carriers (n = 142), and matched deletion-controls (n = 496) and duplication-controls (n = 568) from the UK Biobank study to investigate the association with brain morphology and estimates of brain ageing. Further, we examined the ageing trajectory of age-affected measures (i.e., cortical thickness, surface area, subcortical volume, reaction time, hand grip strength, lung function, and blood pressure) in 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNV carriers compared to non-carriers. In this ageing population, the results from the machine learning models showed that the estimated brain age gaps did not differ between the 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNV carriers and non-carriers, despite deletion carriers displaying thicker cortex and lower subcortical volume compared to the deletion-controls and duplication carriers, and lower surface area compared to the deletion-controls. Likewise, the 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNV carriers did not deviate from the ageing trajectory on any of the age-affected measures examined compared to non-carriers. Despite altered brain morphology in 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNV carriers, the results did not show any clear signs of apparent altered ageing in brain structure, nor in motor, lung or heart function. The results do not indicate neurodegenerative effects in 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNV carriers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number61
Number of pages6
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2023


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