New study finds 4 OCD related genes

A new study just out in Nature Communications:

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a severe psychiatric disorder linked to abnormalities in glutamate signaling and the cortico-striatal circuit. We sequenced coding and regulatory elements for 608 genes potentially involved in obsessive-compulsive disorder in human, dog, and mouse. Using a new method that prioritizes likely functional variants, we compared 592 cases to 560 controls and found four strongly associated genes, validated in a larger cohort. NRXN1 and HTR2A are enriched for coding variants altering postsynaptic protein-binding domains. CTTNBP2 (synapse maintenance) and REEP3 (vesicle trafficking) are enriched for regulatory variants, of which at least six (35%) alter transcription factor-DNA binding in neuroblastoma cells. NRXN1 achieves genome-wide significance (p = 6.37 × 10−11) when we include 33,370 population-matched controls. Our findings suggest synaptic adhesion as a key component in compulsive behaviors, and show that targeted sequencing plus functional annotation can identify potentially causative variants, even when genomic data are limited.

New Scientist reported about the study and there is a short video here:


World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics in Orlando

The 25th World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics just ended in Orlando. Evelyn Hagen Andersson, Julia Boberg and Christian Rück represented our group.

There was huge interest in the poster that Evelyn presented on the association of genetic load for ADHD and Autism and outcome of CBT for depression in a sample of 971 patients. The conference also included a presentation by Andreas Forster on the largest genome-wide study of panic disorder where 400+ cases from our data collection where included. We are happy to soon be part of several work groups of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. The future in psychiatric genetics is clearly collaborative.


Evelyn Hagen Andersson in action. 


Pat Sullivan being starstruck. 


Panic GWAS findings


Panic GWAS contributors. 

World Congress of Psychiatry 2017

Lina, Diana, and Oskar traveled to Berlin for the World Congress of Psychiatry, arranged by the World Psychiatry Association. Lina presented the work we do in internet-delivered CBT treatments during a symposium on the frontiers of OCD research. We were also able to attend a multitude of presentations within the broad field of psychiatry.











Some highlights from the conference:

  • Nasal oxytocin injections as a potential treatment for psychiatric problems
  • Genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying susceptibility to psychopathology (elegantly presented by Professor Michael Meaney of McGill University, Canada)
  • The future of cognitive behavioural therapies
  • Psychiatric needs of refugees
  • Using genetic data and artificial intelligence to predict treatment outcomes

Third wave of cognitive behavioural therapies

This symposium included short talks by Professor Emily Holmes, Professor Adrian Wells, Professor Paul Summergrad and Professor Fritz Hohagen.

A common theme in the discussion was to increase the theoretical rigor of our treatments by developing interventions that target specific mechanisms of change. Professor Holmes noted that there’s a wealth of research in basic science that can potentially inform what we do in the clinic. By identifying these mechanisms and translating them into clinical interventions, we will be able to improve our therapies and sharpen our clinical tools.

”Indeed, it’s a great challenge is to map therapeutic techniques to specific processes. First, we need to go back to models of causality of processes and mechanisms, and then devise therapeutic techniques to target specific processes.” – Adrian Wells

Mental health in Syrian refugees

The war and accompanying atrocities taking place in Syria has forced more than 5 million Syrians to flee the country. More than 600,000 of these refugees have ended up in Germany (150,000 in Sweden) so psychiatrists are now trying to understand the amount of psychological distress and the treatment options available.


The experiences of war and oftentimes dangerous escape to Europe means these individuals are at increased risk of mental health problems. Stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression are among the most common in a sample of 3000 refugees seen at a centre in Berlin.

However, the common theme of these presentations is resilience. Although Syrian refugees have witnessed and experienced things that are unimaginable to many Europeans, a majority of them recover and prosper without much psychiatric attention.

Congratulations, Doctor Volen Ivanov!

Volen Ivanov publicly defended his thesis “Never let go! : the etiology, clinical presentation and treatment of hoarding disorder” last Friday. The defense and opposition by Professor Kiara Timpano was a true celebration of science. Congratulation Volen to your well-deserved PhD!




Volen Ivanov, PhD!


Volen with his proud supervisors Christian Rück, Eva Serlachius, David Mataix-Cols!



Dissertation committee Sten-Åke Stenberg, Karin Wirdefeldt and Maria Tillfors.


Opponent and Respondent. 

OCD genetics meeting in Stockholm

Last monday we had some important guests from Denmark, Norway and USA for an OCD genetics meeting at Villa Källhagen in Stockholm.

Patrick Sullivan, professor at MEB, KI, gav an excellent presentation on the big picture of psych genetics. See his Stockholm psychiatry lecture from 2015 here.



Pat Sullivan

Ellinor Karlsson did a talk on dog genetics and dog OCD or canine compulsive syndrome (CCD). She runs the Karlsson lab at Broad and collects DNA samples through Darwin’s dogs.


Ellinor Karlsson

We also got updates on DNA collection from the Swedish and the Norwegian side of the project, great discussion and input on how to improve recruitment at this point of the study.

All in all, a great day for genome research in the OCD field.



Chris LaLima’s superduper dissertation


Man of the day

Christopher LaLima, psychologist from Hofstra University who was with us in our group in 2015-16 very successfully defended his thesis “Therapist-Guided, Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Body Dysmorphic Disorder – English Version (BDD-NET): A Feasibility Study” today at Hofstra University, NY. Congrats Chris! Chris was even nominated for the H. Alan Robinson Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award! Good luck! Skärmavbild 2017-08-28 kl. 22.05.06



WeMind i samarbete med OCD genetikstudien

Skärmavbild 2017-08-24 kl. 09.41.02WeMind Ångest och Depression Stockholm är den senaste och tionde kliniken som ansluter sig till studien. I OCD genetikstudien ämnar vi att samla in 5000 DNA-prover från personer med tvångssyndrom, dysmorfofobi, samlarsyndrom, tics eller Tourettes syndrom. För att nå detta mål behöver vi samarbeta med mottagningar där de här personerna finns.

Vi är mycket glada att få samarbeta med just WeMind då de håller hög kvalitet gällande bedömning, diagnostik och behandling. De har också väl etablerade rutiner för att mäta och utvärdera behandlingsresultat vilket är ett viktigt bidrag till studien. Vi tänker nämligen inte bara analysera DNA, utan samlar också in en stor mängd fenotypdata, eller kliniska data. Det bidrar till att öka vår kunskap om saker som hur de här patienterna har de och hur de svarar på behandling.

Du kan läsa mer om studien här.


Forskningsstudie för vuxna med tvångssyndrom


Lider du av tvångssyndrom? Just nu bedriver vi en studie där vi jämför olika varianter av KBT-behandling vid tvångssyndrom. Rekryteringen är öppen hela 2017 och det är gratis att delta i studien.

Den som deltar i studien blir lottad till en av tre KBT-behandlingar, som alla pågår i 14 veckor:

  • Behandling på OCD-programmet (Huddinge Sjukhus)
  • Internet-behandling med behandlarstöd
  • Internet-behandling på egen hand

Före och efter behandlingen får deltagarna komma till Huddinge Sjukhus för utvärdering. Vi gör också uppföljningar 3 och 12 månader efter behandlingen.


Du anmäler intresse till studien via följande länk:

Vi tar även emot remisser till studien. Se den här länken för mer information:


För mer information, kontakta någon av forskarna bakom studien:

Projektledare Lina Lundström ( & Oskar Flygare (

Ansvarig forskare Christian Rück (