Cannabis use has been associated with favorable outcomes on metabolic risk factors. The cause of this relation is still unknown. In this study we investigated whether this effect is mediated by the AKT1 gene, as activation of the related enzyme by cannabis may cause metabolic changes. Six Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) of the AKT1 gene (rs1130214, rs1130233, rs2494732, rs2498784, rs3730358, and rs3803300) of patients with psychotic disorders (n = 623) were related to Body Mass Index (BMI), levels of glycosylated hemoglobin (HBA1c) and total metabolic risk. Next, mediation analysis was performed with BMI as outcome, cannabis as predictor, and AKT1 as mediator. Cannabis use was inversely related to BMI but not with levels of HBA1c and total metabolic risk. Moreover, out of 6 AKT1 SNPs, rs2494732 was associated with cannabis use, but AKT1 did not mediate the effect of cannabis on BMI. In conclusion, cannabis use is likely to be associated with a lower BMI in patients with a psychotic disorder. Moreover, AKT1 risk alleles may increase the incidence of cannabis use in patients with a psychotic disorder, but AKT1 does not appear to mediate the effect of cannabis on BMI.

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Schizophrenia Research
Department of Psychiatry

Liemburg, E.J. (Edith J.), Bruins, J. (Jojanneke), van Beveren, N., Islam, M.A. (Md. Atiqul), Alizadeh, B., Bruggeman, R., … van Os, J. (2016). Cannabis and a lower BMI in psychosis: What is the role of AKT1?. Schizophrenia Research, 176(2-3), 95–99. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2016.08.014