Relationship between obesity and the risk of clinically significant depression: Mendelian randomisation study

Chi Fa Hung, Margarita Rivera, Nick Craddock, Michael J. Owen, Michael Gill, Ania Korszun, Wolfgang Maier, Ole Mors, Martin Preisig, John P. Rice, Marcella Rietschel, Lisa Jones, Lefkos Middleton, Kathy J. Aitchison, Oliver S.P. Davis, Gerome Breen, Cathryn Lewis, Anne Farmer, Peter McGuffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Obesity has been shown to be associated with depression and it has been suggested that higher body mass index (BMI) increases the risk of depression and other common mental disorders. However, the causal relationship remains unclear and Mendelian randomisation, a form of instrumental variable analysis, has recently been employed to attempt to resolve this issue. Aims To investigate whether higher BMI increases the risk of major depression. Method Two instrumental variable analyses were conducted to test the causal relationship between obesity and major depression in RADIANT, a large case-control study of major depression. We used a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in FTO and a genetic risk score (GRS) based on 32 SNPs with well-established associations with BMI. Results Linear regression analysis, as expected, showed that individuals carrying more risk alleles of FTO or having higher score of GRS had a higher BMI. Probit regression suggested that higher BMI is associated with increased risk of major depression. However, our two instrumental variable analyses did not support a causal relationship between higher BMI and major depression (FTO genotype: coefficient 70.03, 95% CI 70.18 to 0.13, P = 0.73; GRS: coefficient 70.02, 95% CI 70.11 to 0.07, P = 0.62). Conclusions Our instrumental variable analyses did not support a causal relationship between higher BMI and major depression. The positive associations of higher BMI with major depression in probit regression analyses might be explained by reverse causality and/or residual confounding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-28
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Volume205
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

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