Original Research

Behavior Genetics

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 296-305

First online:

Interactions Between Genotype and Depressive Symptoms on Obesity

  • Bernard F. FuemmelerAffiliated withDuke University Medical Center Email author 
  • , Tanya Agurs-CollinsAffiliated withDuke University Medical Center
  • , F. Joseph McClernonAffiliated withDuke University Medical Center
  • , Scott H. KollinsAffiliated withDuke University Medical Center
  • , Melanie E. GarrettAffiliated withDuke University Medical Center
  • , Allison E. Ashley-KochAffiliated withDuke University Medical Center

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Depression and Genetic variation in serotonin and monoamine transmission have both been associated with body mass index (BMI), but their interaction effects are not well understood. We examined the interaction between depressive symptoms and functional polymorphisms of serotonin transporter (SLC6A4) and monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) on categories of BMI. Participants were from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Multiple logistic regression was used to investigate interactions between candidate genes and depression on risk of obesity (BMI ≥ 30) or overweight + obese combined (BMI ≥ 25). Males with an MAOA active allele with high depressive symptoms were at decreased risk of obesity (OR 0.22; 95% CI 0.06–0.78) and overweight + obesity (OR 0.48; 95% CI 0.26–0.89). No similar effect was observed among females. These findings highlight that the obesity–depression relationship may vary as a function of gender and genetic polymorphism, and suggest the need for further study.


Depression Obesity SLC6A4 MAOA Gender