Effects of environmental stress and gender on associations among symptoms of depression and the serotonin transporter gene linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR)

Beverly H. Brummett, Stephen H. Boyle, Ilene C. Siegler, Cynthia M. Kuhn, Allison Ashley-Koch, Charles R. Jonassaint, Stephan Züchner, Ann Collins, Redford B. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

149 Scopus citations

Abstract

The short (s) variant of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) gene linked functional polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) is associated with depression. Stressful life events, gender, and race have been shown to moderate this association. We examined the relationship between 5-HTTLPR genotype and symptoms of depression in two samples. Study 1 = 288 participants from a study of caregiver stress; and Study 2 = 142 participants from a study examining psychosocial stressors, genetics, and health. Main effects of 5-HTTLPR on symptoms of depression were examined, along with moderation by stress (caregiving status or low childhood socioeconomic status (SES), gender, and race. The 5-HTTLPR x stress group x gender interaction was significant in both samples (P < 0.003, and P < 0.008, respectively). For females, the s allele, combined with caregiving stress (Study 1) or low childhood SES (Study 2), was associated with higher depression scores as compared to participants in the non-stressor group and those with the long (l) allele; whereas, in males, the l allele, combined with a stressor, was associated with higher depression scores as compared to those in the non-stressor group and those with the s allele. Findings from two independent samples suggest that the association of 5-HTTLPR with depression varies according to gender and stressful life events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-43
Number of pages10
JournalBehavior Genetics
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Keywords

  • 5-HTTLPR
  • Caregiving
  • Depressive Symptoms
  • Gender difference
  • Race
  • Socioeconomic Status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Psychology(all)

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