Serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) genotype and stressful life events interact to predict preschool-onset depression: a replication and developmental extension.
ABSTRACT: Scientific enthusiasm about gene × environment interactions, spurred by the 5-HTTLPR (serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region) × SLEs (stressful life events) interaction predicting depression, have recently been tempered by sober realizations of small effects and meta-analyses reaching opposing conclusions. These mixed findings highlight the need for further research. Converging evidence suggests that the effects of 5-HTTLPR genotype may be neurodevelopmental in origin, but we are not aware of empirical studies that have investigated whether the 5-HTTLPR genotype × SLE interaction predicts preschool-onset depression (PO-MDD), the earliest validated form of depression.Children (n = 234) aged 3-5 were recruited for a longitudinal study designed to examine PO-MDD. In a comprehensive baseline assessment, the child's primary caregivers completed questionnaires and were interviewed about their child's behaviors, psychiatric symptoms, and exposure to SLEs.A 5-HTTLPR × SLEs interaction emerged, such that children homozygous for the short allele were more susceptible to depression in the context of elevated SLE than long allele carriers. In contrast, at low SLE exposure, short allele homozygotes had fewer depressive symptoms. The data were best fit by a plasticity model with a substantial reduction in fit by diathesis-stress models.Extending studies in adult and adolescent populations, these data suggest that 5-HTTLPR genotype may provide plasticity to environmental influence, for better or worse. Specifically, children homozygous for the short allele were more susceptible to the depressogenic effects of SLEs but benefitted, in the form of reduced depressive symptoms, in the context of relatively benign environmental conditions (i.e. relatively low SLE exposure). These data highlight the importance of examining gene × environment interactions across development, environment, and outcome but should be interpreted cautiously given the small sample size.
Project description:There has been significant controversy whether stressful life events (SLEs) experienced over the lifespan may elevate the risk of depression in individuals who are homozygous for the short (S) allele of the repeat length polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) in the regulatory region of the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4), compared with individuals homozygous for the long (L) allele. On the basis of the hypothesis that age may be a critical variable, by which such a gene-by-environment interaction may be present in younger adults, but not in older adults and in children, aim of this study was to investigate the role of 5-HTTLPR and SLEs on the endocrine stress response in multiple age cohorts. A total of 115 children (8-12 years), 106 younger adults (18-31 years), and 99 older adults (54-68 years) were subjected to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and structured interviews on SLEs. The TSST induced significant endocrine stress responses in all groups. There was a main effect of genotype in younger and older adults with individuals homozygous for the more active L allele showing a significantly larger cortisol response to the TSST than individuals carrying at least one of the low-expressing S alleles. As predicted, there was a significant interaction of 5-HTTLPR genotype and SLEs, but this interaction was only significant in younger adults and only when the measured SLEs had occurred during the first 5 years of life, suggesting that both age and the specific type of SLE has a role in whether a significant gene-environment interaction is observed.
Project description:Although the relation between stressful life events (SLEs) and risk of major depressive disorder is well established, important questions remain about the effects of stress on the course of geriatric depression. Our objectives were (1) to examine how baseline stress and change in stress is associated with course of geriatric depression and (2) to test whether polymorphisms of serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR) and catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT Val158Met) genes moderate this relation. Two-hundred and sixteen depressed subjects aged 60 years or older were categorized by remission status (Montgomery-Asberg depression rating scale?6) at 6 and 12 months. At 6 months, greater baseline numbers of self-reported negative and total SLEs and greater baseline perceived stress severity were associated with lower odds of remission. At 12 months, only baseline perceived stress predicted remission. When we examined change in stress, 12-month decrease in negative SLEs and level of perceived stress were associated with improved odds of 12-month remission. When genotype data were included, COMT Val158Met genotype did not influence these relations. However, when compared with 5-HTTLPR L/L homozygotes, S allele carriers with greater baseline numbers of negative SLEs and with greater decrease in negative SLEs were more likely to remit at 12 months. This study demonstrates that baseline SLEs and perceived stress severity may influence the 12-month course of geriatric depression. Moreover, changes in these stress measures over time correlate with depression outcomes. 5-HTTLPR S carriers appear to be more susceptible to both the effects of enduring stress and the benefit of interval stress reduction.
Project description:Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified a number of susceptibility genes for schizophrenia (SCZ) and bipolar disorder (BD). However, the identification of risk genes for major depressive disorder (MDD) has been unsuccessful because the etiology of MDD is more influenced by environmental factors; thus, gene-environment (G × E) interactions are important, such as interplay with stressful life events (SLEs). We assessed the G×E interactions and main effects of genes targeting depressive symptoms. Using a case-control design, 922 hospital staff members were evaluated for depressive symptoms according to Beck Depressive Inventory (BDI; "depression" and "control" groups were classified by scores of 10 in the BDI test), SLEs, and personality. A total of sixty-three genetic variants were selected on the basis of previous GWASs of MDD, SCZ, and BD as well as candidate-gene (SLC6A4, BDNF, DBH, and FKBP5) studies. Logistic regression analysis revealed a marginally significant interaction (genetic variant × SLE) at rs4523957 (P uncorrected = 0.0034) with depression and a significant association of single nucleotide polymorphism identified from evidence of BD GWAS (rs7296288, downstream of DHH at 12q13.1) with depression as the main effect (P uncorrected = 9.4 × 10(-4), P corrected = 0.0424). We also found that SLEs had a larger impact on depression (odds ratio ? 3), as reported previously. These results suggest that DHH plays a possible role in depression etiology; however, variants from MDD or SCZ GWAS evidence or candidate genes showed no significant associations or minimal effects of interactions with SLEs on depression.
Project description:Previous studies suggest that the relationship between genetic risk and depression may be moderated by stressful life events (SLEs). The goal of this study was to assess whether SLEs moderate the association between polygenic risk of major depressive disorder (MDD) and depressive symptoms in older adults.We used logistic and negative binomial regressions to assess the associations between polygenic risk, SLEs and depressive symptoms in a sample of 8761 participants from the Health and Retirement Study. Polygenic scores were derived from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium genome-wide association study of MDD. SLEs were operationalized as a dichotomous variable indicating whether participants had experienced at least one stressful event during the previous 2 years. Depressive symptoms were measured using an eight-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale subscale and operationalized as both a dichotomous and a count variable.The odds of reporting four or more depressive symptoms were over twice as high among individuals who experienced at least one SLE (odds ratio 2.19, 95% confidence interval 1.86-2.58). Polygenic scores were significantly associated with depressive symptoms (? = 0.21, p ? 0.0001), although the variance explained was modest (pseudo r 2 = 0.0095). None of the interaction terms for polygenic scores and SLEs was statistically significant.Polygenic risk and SLEs are robust, independent predictors of depressive symptoms in older adults. Consistent with an additive model, we found no evidence that SLEs moderated the association between common variant polygenic risk and depressive symptoms.
Project description:In this study, we examined the roles of specific cognitive (attentional bias) and genetic (5-HTTLPR) risk factors in the intergenerational transmission of depression. Focusing first on the link between maternal history of major depressive disorder (MDD) and children's attentional biases, we found that children of mothers with a history of MDD during their children's lives, compared to children of mothers with no depression history, exhibited greater attentional avoidance of sad faces. This attention bias was specific to sad, rather than happy or angry, faces. There was also preliminary evidence that this relation is stronger among children carrying the 5-HTTLPR S or L(G) allele than among those homozygous for the L(A) allele. Next, conceptualizing mothers' levels of depressive symptoms during the multi-wave prospective follow-up within a vulnerability-stress framework, we found evidence for a three-way child 5-HTTLPR x attentional bias x mother depressive symptom interaction predicting children's depressive symptoms. Specifically, the relation between mother and child depressive symptom levels over time was strongest among children carrying the 5-HTTLR S or L(G) allele who also exhibited attentional avoidance of sad faces. These findings provide initial support for role of children's 5-HTTLPR genotype and attentional biases for sad faces in the intergenerational transmission of depression.
Project description:BACKGROUND:An interaction between recent stressful life events (SLEs) and a serotonin transporter promoter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) in depression has been inconsistently reported. Some of this variability may be due to a previous focus on sub-clinical depression, inclusion of individuals at the lower or upper ends of the age-span, or assumptions concerning the degree of dominance of the low expressing allele. Therefore, a large sample of patients with recurrent clinically diagnosed depression and controls screened for absence of depression was utilised to examine the moderating effect of each 5-HTTLPR genetic model on the association between SLEs and severe depressive episodes. METHOD:A sample of 1236 recurrent unipolar depression cases and 598 age-matched, never psychiatrically ill controls completed the List of Threatening Experiences Questionnaire to assess the number of SLEs experienced in the 6 months prior to the most severe depressive episode (cases) or interview (controls). DNA extracted from blood or cheek swabs was genotyped for the short (s) and long (l) alleles of 5-HTTLPR. RESULTS:A greater number of SLEs were reported by cases than controls and this held across all genotypic groups. There was no main effect of 5-HTTLPR on depression and no evidence of interaction between total SLEs and any of the 5-HTTLPR genetic models. The results were the same for men and women. LIMITATIONS:Utilisation of retrospective self-reported SLEs may have reduced the accuracy of the findings and the cross-sectional design prevents causal inference. CONCLUSIONS:This study failed to find evidence of gene-environment interplay in recurrent clinical depression.
Project description:Fear learning is a crucial process in the pathogeneses of psychiatric disorders, which highlights the need to identify specific factors contributing to interindividual variation. We hypothesized variation in the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) and stressful life events (SLEs) to be associated with neural correlates of fear conditioning in a sample of healthy male adults (n?=?47). Subjects were exposed to a differential fear conditioning paradigm after being preselected regarding 5-HTTLPR genotype and SLEs. Individual differences in brain activity as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), skin conductance responses and preference ratings were assessed. We report significant variation in neural correlates of fear conditioning as a function of 5-HTTLPR genotype. Specifically, the conditioned stimulus (CS(+)) elicited elevated activity within the fear-network (amygdala, insula, thalamus, occipital cortex) in subjects carrying two copies of the 5-HTTLPR S' allele. Moreover, our results revealed preliminary evidence for a significant gene-by-environment interaction, such as homozygous carriers of the 5-HTTLPR S' allele with a history of SLEs demonstrated elevated reactivity to the CS(+) in the occipital cortex and the insula. Our findings contribute to the current debate on 5-HTTLPR x SLEs interaction by investigating crucial alterations on an intermediate phenotype level which may convey an elevated vulnerability for the development of psychopathology.
Project description:Peripartum major depressive disorder (MDD) is a prevalent psychiatric disorder with potential detrimental consequences for both mother and child. Despite its enormous health care relevance, data regarding genetic predictors of peripartum depression are sparse. The aim of this study was to investigate associations of the serotonin-transporter linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) genotype with peripartum MDD in an at-risk population.Two hundred and seventy four women with a prior history of MDD were genotyped for 5-HTTLPR and serially evaluated in late pregnancy (gestational weeks 31-40), early post-partum (week 1-8) and late post-partum (week 9-24) for diagnosis of a current major depressive episode (MDE) and depressive symptom severity.5-HTTLPR S-allele carrier status predicted the occurrence of a MDE in the early post-partum period only (OR=5.13, p=0.017). This association persisted despite continued antidepressant treatment.The 5-HTTLPR genotype may be a clinically relevant predictor of early post-partum depression in an at-risk population.Peripartum major depressive disorder is a prevalent psychiatric disorder with potential detrimental consequences for both mother and child. Despite its enormous health care relevance, data regarding genetic predictors of peripartum depression are sparse. The aim of this study was to investigate associations of the serotonin-transporter linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) genotype with peripartum MDD in an at-risk population.
Project description:The authors tested a model for the intergenerational transmission of depression integrating specific genetic (5-HTTLPR), cognitive (inferential style), and environmental (mother depressive symptoms and expressed-emotion criticism [EE-Crit]) risk factors. Supporting the hypothesis that maternal depression is associated with elevated levels of stress in children's lives, mothers with a history of major depressive disorder (MDD) exhibited higher depressive symptoms across a 6-month multiwave follow-up than mothers with no depression history. In addition, partially supporting our hypothesis, levels of maternal criticism during the follow-up were significantly related to mothers' current depressive symptoms but not to history of MDD. Finally, the authors found support for an integrated Gene x Cognition x Environment model of risk. Specifically, among children with negative inferential styles regarding their self-characteristics, there was a clear dose response of 5-HTTLPR genotype moderating the relation between maternal criticism and children's depressive symptoms, with the highest depressive symptoms during the follow-up observed among children carrying 2 copies of the 5-HTTLPR lower expressing alleles (short [S] or long [LG]) who also exhibited negative inferential styles for self-characteristics and who experienced high levels of EE-Crit. In contrast, children with positive inferential styles exhibited low depressive symptoms regardless of 5-HTTLPR genotype or level of maternal criticism.
Project description:Serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) was reported to associate with depression in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients by our team. To explore whether 5-HTTLPR plays a role in the pathogenesis of SLE, we tested 138 SLE patients and 138 age and sex matched health controls (HCs) for 5-HTTLPR by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and agarose gel electrophoresis. Interestingly, the results suggest that the frequencies of SS genotype and S allele in SLE patients with positive anti-Sm antibody and anti-U1RNP antibody were both significantly higher than the other genotypes and alleles. However, the frequencies of 5-HTTLPR genotypes and alleles were of no significant difference between SLE patients and HCs. This suggested that 5-HTTLPR was not a high-risk susceptible gene in SLE but might relate to SLE by affecting production of some autoantibodies, especially anti-Sm and anti-U1RNP antibody.