Behavior Genetics

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 296–305 | Cite as

Interactions Between Genotype and Depressive Symptoms on Obesity

  • Bernard F. FuemmelerEmail author
  • Tanya Agurs-Collins
  • F. Joseph McClernon
  • Scott H. Kollins
  • Melanie E. Garrett
  • Allison E. Ashley-Koch
Original Research


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 



Portions of this work were supported by grant number NIDA K23DA017261 (FJM), NINDS NS049067 (MG, SHK and AAK), NICHD HD31921 (MG and AAK), and NCI 1K07CA124905 (BFF). This research uses data from Add Health, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, and funded by a grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Persons interested in obtaining data files from Add Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524 ( No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard F. Fuemmeler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tanya Agurs-Collins
    • 1
  • F. Joseph McClernon
    • 1
  • Scott H. Kollins
    • 1
  • Melanie E. Garrett
    • 1
  • Allison E. Ashley-Koch
    • 1
  1. 1.Duke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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