Behavior Genetics

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 34–43

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
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10519-007-9172-1

Cite this article as:
Brummett, B.H., Boyle, S.H., Siegler, I.C. et al. Behav Genet (2008) 38: 34. doi:10.1007/s10519-007-9172-1

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 × stress group × 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.

Keywords

5-HTTLPRDepressive SymptomsCaregivingSocioeconomic StatusRaceGender difference

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beverly H. Brummett
    • 1
  • Stephen H. Boyle
    • 1
  • Ilene C. Siegler
    • 1
  • Cynthia M. Kuhn
    • 2
  • Allison Ashley-Koch
    • 3
  • Charles R. Jonassaint
    • 4
  • Stephan Züchner
    • 5
  • Ann Collins
    • 3
  • Redford B. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral MedicineDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology and Cancer BiologyDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Center for Human GeneticsDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  5. 5.Miami Institute of Human GenomicsUniversity of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA