Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 119, Issue 10, pp 1133–1145 | Cite as

Clock gene variants in mood and anxiety disorders

  • Timo Partonen
Biological Psychiatry - Review article


Circadian clocks are driven by signals from the habitat to match the solar day and to reset their phase relative to local time. A key function of the circadian clocks allows individuals to anticipate routine environmental conditions and to adjust their behaviors to the change of conditions. In clinical practice mood, anxiety and alcohol use disorders are often comorbid conditions. Clinical data have demonstrated that there are abnormalities in the circadian rhythms in patients with mood disorders and those with alcohol use disorders. Recent findings of molecular genetics have yielded the first insight into the targets of interest. Circadian clock gene variants are a fruitful target for elucidation of the pathogenesis. The findings that have gained support indicate that genetic variants of RORA (rs2028122) and CRY1 (rs2287161) associate with depressive disorder, those of RORB (rs7022435, rs3750420, rs1157358, rs3903529) and NR1D1 (rs2314339) with bipolar disorder, and those of NPAS2 (rs11541353) and CRY2 (rs10838524) with seasonal affective disorder or winter depression. Concerning anxiety disorders and alcohol use disorders, the current findings are preliminary and need further verification to explain the association of ARNTL2, being suggestive only, with social phobia (rs2306073) and with alcohol abuse (rs7958822, rs4964057).


Alcohol Bipolar Circadian Comorbid Depressive Polymorphism Seasonal Sleep 



Aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator-like


Aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator-like 2


Basic helix-loop-helix family, member e40


Circadian locomoter output cycles kaput homolog (mouse)


Cryptochrome 1 (photolyase-like)


Cryptochrome 2 (photolyase-like)


Casein kinase 1, epsilon


Glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta


Neuronal PAS [period—aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator—single-minded] domain protein 2


Nuclear receptor subfamily 1, group D, member 1


Period homolog 1 (Drosophila)


Period homolog 2 (Drosophila)


Period homolog 3 (Drosophila)


RAR [retinoic acid receptor]-related orphan receptor A [alpha]


RAR-related orphan receptor B [beta]


Sirtuin 1


Timeless homolog (Drosophila)


Vasoactive intestinal peptide


Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse ServicesNational Institute for Health and WelfareHelsinkiFinland

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