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Stressful life events and the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTT) in recurrent clinical depression

Fisher, Helen L., Cohen-Woods, Sarah, Hosang, Georgina M., Uher, Rudolf, Powell-Smith, Georgia, Keers, Robert, Tropeano, Maria, Korszun, Ania, Jones, Lisa, Jones, Ian Richard, Owen, Michael John, Craddock, Nicholas John, Craig, Ian W., Farmer, Anne E. and McGuffin, Peter 2012. Stressful life events and the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTT) in recurrent clinical depression. Journal of Affective Disorders 136 (1-2) , pp. 189-193. 10.1016/j.jad.2011.09.016

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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.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: stressful life events, unipolar depression, recurrent, serotonin transporter gene, gene–environment interaction, 5-HTTLPR
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0165-0327
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:45

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