- This event has passed.
N&PP Seminar by Dr. Lauren Schmitz
November 14, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Dr. Lauren Schmitz, UW-Madison La Follette School of Public Affairs
Title: Examining Sex Differences in Pleiotropic Effects for Depression and Smoking Using Polygenic and Gene-Region Aggregation Techniques
Sex differences in rates of depression are thought to contribute to sex differences in smoking behavior. One hypothesis is that women smoke as a strategy to cope with anxiety and depression, and have difficulty quitting because of concomitant changes in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis function during nicotine withdrawal states. Despite evidence of biological ties, research has not examined whether genetic factors that contribute to depression-smoking comorbidity differ by sex. We utilized two statistical aggregation techniques—polygenic scores (PGSs) and sequence kernel association testing (SKAT)—to assess the degree of pleiotropy between these behaviors and moderation by sex in the Health and Retirement Study. Our results suggest bidirectional associations between depression and smoking may be partially accounted for by shared genetic factors, and genetic variation in genes related to HPA-axis functioning and nicotine dependence may contribute to sex differences in smoking behavior.