Deducing genes capable of classifying biologically-distinct psychiatric subtypes, and their targets for treatment, is a priority approach in psychiatry. FKBP5 is one such gene with strong evidence of utility to delineate a trans-diagnostic psychiatric subtype. Yet how brain-expressed FKBP5 is affected in psychiatric disorders in humans is not fully understood and critical for propelling FKBP5-targeting treatment development. We performed a large-scale postmortem study (n=895) of FKBP5 using dorsolateral prefrontal cortex samples derived from individuals with severe psychiatric disorders with a comprehensive battery of bulk/single-cell omics and histological analyses. We observed consistently heightened FKBP5 mRNA and protein in psychopathology, moderated by genotype and age, and accompanied by DNA methylation changes in key enhancers. These effects were most prominent in superficial-layer pyramidal cells. Heightened FKBP5 was also differentially associated with downstream pathways according to age, being specifically associated with synaptic transmission in early adulthood, and neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in later life.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience