Childhood adversity interacts separately with 5-HTTLPR and BDNF to predict lifetime depression diagnosis

Charles S. Carver, Sheri L. Johnson, Jutta Joormann, Joelle Lemoult, Michael L. Cuccaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


The serotonin transporter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) and the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) val66met polymorphism have both been linked to depression symptoms and to depression diagnosis (MDD) in interaction with adversity; there have also been failures to find the effects. We reexamined both interactions for lifetime MDD in a college sample. Lifetime MDD was diagnosed by Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV in 133 undergraduates; genotypes for 5-HTTLPR and BDNF were assayed from blood, and self-reports were collected concerning childhood adversity (Risk). 5-HTTLPR interacted with Risk such that Risk predicted less likelihood of MDD among ll carriers and tended to predict greater likelihood of MDD among s carriers. BDNF interacted with Risk such that Risk predicted greater likelihood of MDD among met carriers and did not influence val/val carriers. These two interactions were additive: both were significant in a combined model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-93
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011



  • 5-HTTLPR
  • BDNF
  • Depression
  • Gene × environment
  • Genotype
  • Serotonin transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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