Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 59–67 | Cite as

Candidate-Gene Approach in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder After Urban Violence: Association Analysis of the Genes Encoding Serotonin Transporter, Dopamine Transporter, and BDNF

  • Nina Leão Marques Valente
  • Homero Vallada
  • Quirino Cordeiro
  • Karen Miguita
  • Rodrigo Affonseca Bressan
  • Sergio Baxter Andreoli
  • Jair Jesus Mari
  • Marcelo Feijó Mello


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a prevalent, disabling anxiety disorder marked by behavioral and physiologic alterations which commonly follows a chronic course. Exposure to a traumatic event constitutes a necessary, but not sufficient, factor. There is evidence from twin studies supporting a significant genetic predisposition to PTSD. However, the precise genetic loci still remain unclear. The objective of the present study was to identify, in a case–control study, whether the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) val66met polymorphism (rs6265), the dopamine transporter (DAT1) three prime untranslated region (3′UTR) variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR), and the serotonin transporter (5-HTTPRL) short/long variants are associated with the development of PTSD in a group of victims of urban violence. All polymorphisms were genotyped in 65 PTSD patients as well as in 34 victims of violence without PTSD and in a community control group (n = 335). We did not find a statistical significant difference between the BDNF val66met and 5-HTTPRL polymorphism and the traumatic phenotype. However, a statistical association was found between DAT1 3′UTR VNTR nine repeats and PTSD (OR = 1.82; 95% CI, 1.20–2.76). This preliminary result confirms previous reports supporting a susceptibility role for allele 9 and PTSD.


Polymorphism DAT1 BDNF 5-HTTLPR Posttraumatic stress disorder PTSD Violence 



This study was partly funded by Fundacão de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (grant: 2004/15039-0). NLMV received a scholarship from the Ministry of Education (CAPES). JJM is a CNPq level I researcher, and MFM, RAB, and SBA are CNPq level II researchers. We would like to thank Thais Chile and Katia Ichi for their technical contribution for the lab work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nina Leão Marques Valente
    • 1
  • Homero Vallada
    • 2
  • Quirino Cordeiro
    • 2
  • Karen Miguita
    • 2
    • 4
  • Rodrigo Affonseca Bressan
    • 1
  • Sergio Baxter Andreoli
    • 1
  • Jair Jesus Mari
    • 1
    • 3
  • Marcelo Feijó Mello
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de PsiquiatriaUniversidade Federal de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Psiquiatria e LIM-23da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of PsychiatryKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Instituto Adolfo LutzSão PauloBrazil

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