Collaborative meta-analysis finds no evidence of a strong interaction between stress and 5-HTTLPR genotype contributing to the development of depression.
ABSTRACT: The hypothesis that the S allele of the 5-HTTLPR serotonin transporter promoter region is associated with increased risk of depression, but only in individuals exposed to stressful situations, has generated much interest, research and controversy since first proposed in 2003. Multiple meta-analyses combining results from heterogeneous analyses have not settled the issue. To determine the magnitude of the interaction and the conditions under which it might be observed, we performed new analyses on 31 data sets containing 38?802 European ancestry subjects genotyped for 5-HTTLPR and assessed for depression and childhood maltreatment or other stressful life events, and meta-analysed the results. Analyses targeted two stressors (narrow, broad) and two depression outcomes (current, lifetime). All groups that published on this topic prior to the initiation of our study and met the assessment and sample size criteria were invited to participate. Additional groups, identified by consortium members or self-identified in response to our protocol (published prior to the start of analysis) with qualifying unpublished data, were also invited to participate. A uniform data analysis script implementing the protocol was executed by each of the consortium members. Our findings do not support the interaction hypothesis. We found no subgroups or variable definitions for which an interaction between stress and 5-HTTLPR genotype was statistically significant. In contrast, our findings for the main effects of life stressors (strong risk factor) and 5-HTTLPR genotype (no impact on risk) are strikingly consistent across our contributing studies, the original study reporting the interaction and subsequent meta-analyses. Our conclusion is that if an interaction exists in which the S allele of 5-HTTLPR increases risk of depression only in stressed individuals, then it is not broadly generalisable, but must be of modest effect size and only observable in limited situations.
Project description:Debate is ongoing about what role, if any, variation in the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) plays in depression. Some studies report an interaction between 5-HTTLPR variation and stressful life events affecting the risk for depression, others report a main effect of 5-HTTLPR variation on depression, while others find no evidence for either a main or interaction effect. Meta-analyses of multiple studies have also reached differing conclusions.To improve understanding of the combined roles of 5-HTTLPR variation and stress in the development of depression, we are conducting a meta-analysis of multiple independent datasets. This coordinated approach utilizes new analyses performed with centrally-developed, standardized scripts. This publication documents the protocol for this collaborative, consortium-based meta-analysis of 5-HTTLPR variation, stress, and depression.Our goal is to invite all datasets, published or unpublished, with 5-HTTLPR genotype and assessments of stress and depression for at least 300 subjects. This inclusive approach is to minimize potential impact from publication bias.This project currently includes investigators from 35 independent groups, providing data on at least N = 33,761 participants.The analytic plan was determined prior to starting data analysis. Analyses of individual study datasets will be performed by the investigators who collected the data using centrally-developed standardized analysis scripts to ensure a consistent analytical approach across sites. The consortium as a group will review and interpret the meta-analysis results.Variation in 5-HTTLPR is hypothesized to moderate the response to stress on depression. To test specific hypotheses about the role of 5-HTTLPR variation on depression, we will perform coordinated meta-analyses of de novo results obtained from all available data, using variables and analyses determined a priori. Primary analyses, based on the original 2003 report by Caspi and colleagues of a GxE interaction will be supplemented by secondary analyses to help interpret and clarify issues ranging from the mechanism of effect to heterogeneity among the contributing studies. Publication of this protocol serves to protect this project from biased reporting and to improve the ability of readers to interpret the results of this specific meta-analysis upon its completion.
Project description:CONTEXT:Substantial resources are being devoted to identify candidate genes for complex mental and behavioral disorders through inclusion of environmental exposures following the report of an interaction between the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) and stressful life events on an increased risk of major depression. OBJECTIVE:To conduct a meta-analysis of the interaction between the serotonin transporter gene and stressful life events on depression using both published data and individual-level original data. DATA SOURCES:Search of PubMed, EMBASE, and PsycINFO databases through March 2009 yielded 26 studies of which 14 met criteria for the meta-analysis. STUDY SELECTION:Criteria for studies for the meta-analyses included published data on the association between 5-HTTLPR genotype (SS, SL, or LL), number of stressful life events (0, 1, 2, > or = 3) or equivalent, and a categorical measure of depression defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) or use of a cut point to define depression from standardized rating scales. To maximize our ability to use a common framework for variable definition, we also requested original data from all studies published prior to 2008 that met inclusion criteria. Of the 14 studies included in the meta-analysis, 10 were also included in a second sex-specific meta-analysis of original individual-level data. DATA EXTRACTION:Logistic regression was used to estimate the effects of the number of short alleles at 5-HTTLPR, the number of stressful life events, and their interaction on depression. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated separately for each study and then weighted averages of the individual estimates were obtained using random-effects meta-analysis. Both sex-combined and sex-specific meta-analyses were conducted. Of a total of 14,250 participants, 1769 were classified as having depression; 12,481 as not having depression. RESULTS:In the meta-analysis of published data, the number of stressful life events was significantly associated with depression (OR, 1.41; 95% CI,1.25-1.57). No association was found between 5-HTTLPR genotype and depression in any of the individual studies nor in the weighted average (OR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.98-1.13) and no interaction effect between genotype and stressful life events on depression was observed (OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.94-1.10). Comparable results were found in the sex-specific meta-analysis of individual-level data. CONCLUSION:This meta-analysis yielded no evidence that the serotonin transporter genotype alone or in interaction with stressful life events is associated with an elevated risk of depression in men alone, women alone, or in both sexes combined.
Project description:We compare the genotype distribution for the serotonin transporter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) in a sample of older Taiwanese adults with samples of various racial and ethnic groups collected in other studies. We also explore interactions among sex, stressors, and 5-HTTLPR genotype on depressive symptoms in our sample.Using a nationally representative sample of 984 Taiwanese aged 53 and older, we model depressive symptoms as a function of 5-HTTLPR genotype and two classes of stressors: lifetime trauma and recent major life events. We test two- and three-way interactions among stressors, 5-HTTLPR, and sex.This sample exhibits higher frequency of S/S and lower frequency of L/L genotype than Western samples, but the distribution is comparable to those in East Asian populations. Nearly 9% carry an allele (XL) that has rarely been reported in the literature. Although the gene-environment (GxE) interaction with recent major life events is not significant, our results suggest that trauma has a worse effect on depressive symptoms for those with S/S or S/L genotype than for those who do not carry the S allele (P<0.05). We find no evidence that this GxE interaction varies by sex.Previous studies of this GxE interaction have been inconclusive, perhaps because interactions between genotype and stressful events are more prominent under extreme stressors. Our findings underscore the need to move beyond a bi-allelic parameterization of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and raise questions about why East Asian populations exhibit low rates of depression despite a high frequency of the S allele.
Project description:Previous studies of the interaction between a functional polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene-linked promoter region (5-HTTLPR) and stress in anxiety-related phenotypes have produced inconsistent results. The aim of the current study was to examine the effect of the 5-HTTLPR?×?stress interaction on anxiety symptoms in Chinese adolescents.A total of 651 healthy adolescents [323 females and 328 males; age 14-17 (mean = 16.27, standard deviation = 0.77)] participated in this study. At the initial assessment, participants completed self-report measures assessing anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms and stressful life events. Additionally, anxiety symptoms and stressful life events were assessed once every 3 months for the subsequent 9 months. A hierarchical linear model (HLM) was used to investigate the 5-HTTLPR?×?stress interaction.The HLM indicated no main effect of 5-HTTLPR on anxiety symptoms. Significant 5-HTTLPR?×?stress interaction effect in predicting anxiety symptoms was found. Specifically, individuals with the 5-HTTLPR L allele exhibited more anxiety symptoms related to stressful life events.The association between stress and anxiety symptoms is moderated by 5-HTTLPR. The 5-HTTLPR L allele increases individuals' vulnerability to anxiety under stress situations.
Project description: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:BACKGROUND: Recent meta-analyses have raised concerns about the replicability of gene × environment interactions involving the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) in moderating the associations between adverse life events and mental disorders. AIMS: To use data gathered over the course of a 30-year longitudinal study of a New Zealand birth cohort to test the hypothesis that the presence of short ('s') alleles of 5-HTTLPR are associated with an increased response to life stress. METHOD: Participants were 893 individuals from the Christchurch Health and Development Study who had complete data on: the 5-HTTLPR genotype; psychiatric disorders up to the age of 30; and exposure to childhood and adult adverse life events. RESULTS: A series of 104 regression models were fitted to four mental health outcomes (depressive symptoms, major depression, anxiety disorder and suicidal ideation) observed at ages 18, 21, 25 and 30 using 13 measures of life-course stress that spanned childhood and adult stressors. Both multiplicative and additive models were fitted to the data. No evidence was found that would support the hypothesis that 's' alleles of 5-HTTLPR are associated with increased responsivity to life stressors. CONCLUSIONS: The present findings add to the evidence suggesting that it is unlikely that there is a stable gene × environment interaction involving 5-HTTLPR, life stress and mental disorders.
Project description:The common genetic variation of the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) has been related to depressive symptoms, in particular after stressful life events. Although it has been investigated in the past, results suggesting that the 5-HTTLPR genotype also affects hippocampal volume are often inconsistent and it remains unclear to what extent reduced hippocampal volume is influenced by the effect of stressful life events and 5-HTTLPR genotype. Moreover, sex, which is known to affect the prevalence of depression substantially, has not been taken into account when trying to disentangle the interactive effect of common genetic variation and environmental stressors on the hippocampus. We investigated this potentially relevant three-way interaction using an automatic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based segmentation of the hippocampus in 357 healthy individuals. We determined the 5-HTTLPR genotype as a biallelic locus and childhood adversity (CA) using a standard questionnaire. An interaction for hippocampal volume was found between the factors sex, genotype, and severe CA (p=0.010) as well as an interaction between genotype and severe CA (p=0.007) in men only. Post hoc tests revealed that only male S'-allele carriers with severe CA had smaller hippocampi (p=0.002). Interestingly, there was no main effect of genotype in men, while female S'-allele carriers had smaller hippocampi than L'L' carriers (p=0.023). Our results indicate that sex modulates the interactive effect of the 5-HTTLPR genotype and CA on hippocampal volume. While the S'-allele is associated with hippocampal volume independent of CA in women, men only have smaller hippocampi if they carry the risk allele and experienced severe CA.
Project description:Depending on genetic sensitivity to it, stress may affect depressive symptomatology differentially. Applying the stress-diathesis hypothesis to older adults, we postulate: (1) recent stress will associate with increased depressive symptom levels and (2) this effect will be greater for individuals with at least one short allele of the serotonin transporter gene promoter region (5-HTTLPR). Further, we employ a design that addresses specific limitations of many prior studies that have examined the 5-HTTLPR × SLE relation, by: (a) using a within-person repeated-measures design to address fluctuations that occur within individuals over time, increase power for detecting G × E, and address GE correlation; (b) studying reports of exogenous stressful events (those unlikely to be caused by depression) to help rule out reverse causation and negativity bias, and in order to assess stressors that are more etiologically relevant to depressive symptomatology in older adults. The sample is drawn from the Health and Retirement Study, a U.S. population-based study of older individuals (N = 28,248; mean age = 67.5; 57.3 % female; 80.7 % Non-Hispanic White, 14.9 % Hispanic/Latino, 4.5 % African American; genetic subsample = 12,332), from whom measures of depressive symptoms and exogenous stressors were collected biannually (1994-2010). Variation in the 5-HTTLPR was characterized via haplotype, using two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Ordered logit models were constructed to predict levels of depressive symptoms from 5-HTTLPR and stressors, comparing results of the most commonly applied statistical approaches (i.e., comparing allelic and genotypic models, and continuous and categorical predictors) used in the literature. All models were stratified by race/ethnicity. Overall, results show a main effect of recent stress for all ethnic groups, and mixed results for the variation in 5-HTTLPR × stress interaction, contingent upon statistical model used. Findings suggest there may be a differential effect of stressors and 5-HTTLPR on depressive symptoms by ethnicity, but further research is needed, particularly when using a haplotype to characterize variation in 5-HTTLPR in population-based sample with a diverse ethnic composition.
Project description:The serotonin-transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) is one of the most extensively investigated candidates to be involved in gene-environment interaction associated with depression. Nevertheless, the interaction remains controversial. In an original study, we tested the hypothesis that risk for use of antidepressants following a diagnosis of colorectal cancer is associated with bi- and triallelic genotypes of 5-HTTLPR. In addition, in an inclusive meta-analysis, we tested the hypothesis that depression following a diagnosis of cancer is associated with biallelic 5-HTTLPR genotype. We created an exposed-only cohort of 849 colorectal cancer patients from the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort study. The hypothesized association was investigated with Cox regression models and competing risk analyses. Five studies comprising a total of 1484 cancer patients were included in the meta-analysis. Nationwide registries provided information on dates of diagnosis of colorectal cancer and use of antidepressants. Unadjusted odds ratios of depression according to the biallelic 5-HTTLPR genotype were included in the meta-analysis. 5-HTTLPR genotypes were not associated with use of antidepressants after colorectal cancer. Estimated hazard ratios ranged 0.92-1.08, and we observed no statistically significant associations across biallelic and triallelic genotypes in crude as well as adjusted models. The meta-analysis showed no statistically significant associations of 5-HTTLPR biallelic genotype with depression after cancer. Our findings in an original study and a meta-analysis do not support the hypothesis of an association between the 5-HTTLPR genotype and depression after cancer.
Project description:Caspi et al. (2003) found an interaction between the serotonin transporter polymorphism gene (5-HTTLPR) and stressful life events on depression. Subsequent attempts to replicate have been inconsistent. The present research included long allele variants modified by SNP rs25531 and tested the interaction on adolescents' trajectories of anxious/depressed symptoms, with consideration of possible age effects. Adolescents (N = 574), of whom 436 were genotyped, were followed from ages 12 to 17. Analyses demonstrated a G × E interaction in predicting the development of anxious/depressed symptoms. Specifically, adolescents with lower serotonin transcriptional efficiency (TE) genotypes whose mothers reported more stressful events were reported to show more anxious/depressed symptoms and greater increases in the development of symptoms of anxiety and depression than were higher TE adolescents, particularly at ages 16 and 17. Interactions did not differ by gender. Findings demonstrate that stress may affect adolescents' likelihood of experiencing anxious/depressed symptoms when they have a low serotonin TE (A/G-modified 5-HTTLPR) genotype and suggest that the vulnerability may be stronger in late than early adolescence.