Behavior Genetics

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 518–532 | Cite as

Association of Existing and New Candidate Genes for Anxiety, Depression and Personality Traits in Older People

  • Michelle Luciano
  • Lorna M. Houlihan
  • Sarah E. Harris
  • Alan J. Gow
  • Caroline Hayward
  • John M. Starr
  • Ian J. Deary
Original Research


Genetic variants that have previously been associated with personality traits and/or psychological distress, or inflammatory marker levels were investigated for their relationship to self-rated personality traits, anxiety, and depression in two elderly Scottish cohorts. Ten genes (29 SNPs) were investigated in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (~70 years, N = 1,091). Four of these genes and seven others (35 SNPs) were tested in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1921 who were measured on the same traits and states on two occasions (~80 years, N = 550; 87 years, N = 229). For previously investigated candidate genes, some support (at a nominal significance level of 0.05/0.01) was found for association between NOS1 and personality traits (especially extraversion), PSEN1 and depression/neuroticism, and GRIK3 and depression. Of the inflammatory marker candidate genes, TF showed some association with psychological distress. No SNPs withstood the correction to significance level for multiple testing. Nevertheless, the results will be of importance to future meta-analyses of these candidate genes in relation to psychological distress and personality.


Anxiety Depression Personality Inflammatory marker genes Candidate genes Genetic association 



We thank the LBC1921 and LBC1936 participants. We thank the LBC1936 study Secretary Paula Davies. We thank Michelle Taylor, Janie Corley, Caroline Brett, Alison Pattie, Martha Whiteman and Caroline Cameron for data collection and data entry. We thank the staff at Lothian Health Board, and the staff at the SCRE Centre, University of Glasgow; and Jenny Huffman for performing some of the genotyping. The LBC1921 data described here were collected in waves funded by the BBSRC and the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive. The LBC1936 was supported by a programme grant (to IJD and JMS) from Research into Ageing, which continues with funding from Help the Aged as The Disconnected Mind. The work was undertaken by The University of Edinburgh Centre for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology, part of the cross council Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Initiative. Funding (to IJD and JMS) from the BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC and MRC is gratefully acknowledged. ML is a Royal Society of Edinburgh/Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland Personal Research Fellow.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Luciano
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lorna M. Houlihan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sarah E. Harris
    • 1
    • 3
  • Alan J. Gow
    • 1
    • 2
  • Caroline Hayward
    • 4
  • John M. Starr
    • 1
    • 5
  • Ian J. Deary
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive EpidemiologyUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghScotland, UK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghScotland, UK
  3. 3.Medical Genetics SectionUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  4. 4.Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, MRC Human Genetics UnitWestern General HospitalEdinburghUK
  5. 5.Department of Geriatric MedicineUniversity of Edinburgh, Royal Victoria HospitalEdinburghUK

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