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BACKGROUND: Tourette syndrome (TS) is often found comorbid with other neurodevelopmental disorders across the impulsivity-compulsivity spectrum, with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as most prevalent. This points to the possibility of a common etiological thread along an impulsivity-compulsivity continuum. METHODS: Investigating the shared genetic basis across TS, ADHD, ASD, and OCD, we undertook an evaluation of cross-disorder genetic architecture and systematic meta-analysis, integrating summary statistics from the latest genome-wide association studies (93,294 individuals, 6,788,510 markers). RESULTS: As previously identified, a common unifying factor connects TS, ADHD, and ASD, while TS and OCD show the highest genetic correlation in pairwise testing among these disorders. Thanks to a more homogeneous set of disorders and a targeted approach that is guided by genetic correlations, we were able to identify multiple novel hits and regions that seem to play a pleiotropic role for the specific disorders analyzed here and could not be identified through previous studies. In the TS-ADHD-ASD genome-wide association study single nucleotide polymorphism-based and gene-based meta-analysis, we uncovered 13 genome-wide significant regions that host single nucleotide polymorphisms with a high posterior probability for association with all three studied disorders (m-value > 0.9), 11 of which were not identified in previous cross-disorder analysis. In contrast, we also identified two additional pleiotropic regions in the TS-OCD meta-analysis. Through conditional analysis, we highlighted genes and genetic regions that play a specific role in a TS-ADHD-ASD genetic factor versus TS-OCD. Cross-disorder tissue specificity analysis implicated the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal gland axis in TS-ADHD-ASD. CONCLUSIONS: Our work underlines the value of redefining the framework for research across traditional diagnostic categories.

Original publication




Journal article


Biol Psychiatry

Publication Date





317 - 327


ADHD, ASD, Cross-disorder genetic analysis, GWAS meta-analysis, OCD, Tourette syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Comorbidity, Genome-Wide Association Study, Humans, Impulsive Behavior, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Tourette Syndrome