, Volume 231, Issue 4, pp 685-693
Date: 11 Oct 2013

A study of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor gene (GRIN2B) variants as predictors of treatment-resistant major depression

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In clinical practice, ketamine, an antagonist of the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR), is used to alleviate depressive symptoms in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), especially in those with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Accordingly, the human gene coding for the 2B subunit of the NMDAR (GRIN2B) is considered a promising candidate gene for MDD susceptibility.


The primary aim of this study is to examine whether potentially functional polymorphisms of GRIN2B confer risk for MDD, and second to investigate whether GRIN2B acts as a genetic predictor for TRD in MDD patients.


We enrolled 178 TRD and 612 non-TRD patients as well as 779 healthy controls.


Four potentially functional polymorphisms (rs1805502, rs890, rs1806201, and rs7301328) within GRIN2B were genotyped in all participants. The haplotype analysis found significant differences in the distribution of the G–T haplotype between the TRD and control groups (corrected P = 0.007), and the frequency of the G–T haplotype in TRD group was significantly higher than that in the controls (TRD/control ratio 0.31:0.21). Statistically significant differences in allele and genotype frequencies were detected between TRD and non-TRD groups for the rs1805502 polymorphism within GRIN2B. There was a significant allelic association between rs1805502 and TRD with an excess of the G allele in the TRD group, compared to non-TRD group (OR = 1.55, 95 % CI = 1.18–2.05, corrected P = 0.008).


These initial findings strengthen the hypothesis that GRIN2B not only confers susceptibility to TRD, but also plays a genetic predictor for TRD in MDD patients.

Chen Zhang and Zezhi Li are equally contributed to this work.