Serotonin-related gene polymorphisms and central nervous system serotonin function

Department of Anesthesiology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States
Neuropsychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 7.83). 04/2003; 28(3):533-41. DOI: 10.1038/sj.npp.1300054
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Central nervous system (CNS) serotonergic function affects a wide range of biological and behavioral functions affecting health and disease. Our objective in this study was to determine whether functional polymorphisms of the genes that encode for the serotonin transporter promoter (5HTTLPR) and monoamine oxidase A (MAOA-uVNTR) are associated with CNS serotonin turnover-indexed by cerebrospinal fluid levels of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA)-in a community sample of healthy adults. Subjects were 165 community volunteers without current medical or psychiatric illness, stratified with respect to ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status who underwent inpatient evaluation in the General Clinical Research Center of a university medical center. A significant ethnicity x genotype interaction (P=0.008) indicated that, compared to the long/long and long/short genotypes, the 5HTTLPR short/short genotype was associated with higher CSF 5-HIAA levels in African Americans, but with lower levels in Caucasians. A gender x genotype interaction (P=0.04) indicated that 5HTTLPR short/short genotype was associated with higher 5-HIAA levels in women but with lower levels in men. MAOA-uVNTR 3.5 and 4 repeat alleles were associated with higher 5-HIAA (P=0.03) levels in men, but were unrelated to 5-HIAA levels in women. These findings suggest that effects of serotonin-related gene polymorphisms on CNS serotonergic function vary as a function of both ethnicity and gender. Further research will be required to determine the mechanism(s) underlying these differential effects. In the meanwhile, both ethnicity and gender should be taken into account in research evaluating effects of these and related polymorphisms on CNS serotonergic function, as well as the broad range of biological and behavioral functions that are regulated by CNS serotonergic function.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Studies have demonstrated verbal memory deficits associated with past year ecstasy use, although specific underlying components of these deficits are less understood. Further, prior research suggests potential gender differences in ecstasy-induced serotonergic changes. Therefore, the current study investigated whether gender moderated the relationship between ecstasy exposure and components of verbal memory after controlling for polydrug use and confounding variables. Data were collected from 65 polydrug users with a wide range of ecstasy exposure (ages 18-35; 48 ecstasy and 17 marijuana users; 0-2310 ecstasy tablets). Participants completed a verbal learning and memory task, psychological questionnaires, and a drug use interview. Increased past year ecstasy exposure predicted poorer short and long delayed free and cued recalls, retention, and recall discrimination. Male ecstasy users were more susceptible to dose-dependent deficits in retention than female users. Past year ecstasy consumption was associated with verbal memory retrieval, retention, and discrimination deficits in a dose-dependent manner in a sample of healthy young adult polydrug users. Male ecstasy users were at particular risk for deficits in retention following a long delay. Gender difference may be reflective of different patterns of polydrug use as well as increased hippocampal sensitivity. Future research examining neuronal correlates of verbal memory deficits in ecstasy users are needed.
    PLoS ONE 12/2014; 9(12):e115645. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0115645 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Marital separation is linked to negative mental and physical health; however, the strength of this link may vary across people. This study examined changes in respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), used to assess cardiac vagal control, in recently separated adults (N = 79; M time since separation = 3.5 months). When reflecting on the separation, self-reported psychological distress following the separation interacted with a polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) and a relevant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs25531, to predict RSA. Among people reporting emotional difficulties after the separation, those who were homozygous for the short allele had lower RSA levels while reflecting on their relationship than other genotypes. The findings, although limited by the relatively small sample size, are discussed in terms of how higher-sensitivity genotypes may interact with psychological responses to stress to alter physiology.
    Psychophysiology 01/2015; DOI:10.1111/psyp.12409 · 3.18 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The most stringent test of differential susceptibility theory is provided by randomized control trials examining the moderating role of genetic markers of differential susceptibility in experimental manipulations of the environment (Gene × Experimental Environment interactions), being at least 10 times more powerful than correlational Gene × Environment interaction studies. We identified 22 experiments involving 3,257 participants with various developmental outcomes (e.g., externalizing problems, internalizing behaviors, and cognitive development). Effect sizes contrasting experimental versus control group were computed both for subjects with the polymorphism considered indicative of heightened susceptibility (e.g., the dopamine receptor D4 gene seven-repeat allele and the serotonin transporter polymorphic region short allele) and others expected to be low in susceptibility (e.g., the dopamine receptor D4 gene four-repeat allele and the serotonin transporter polymorphic region short allele). Clear-cut experimental support for genetic differential susceptibility emerged: the combined effect size of the interventions for the susceptible genotypes amounted to r = .33 (95% confidence interval = 0.23, 0.42; p < .01) versus a nonsignificant r = .08 (95% confidence interval = -0.02, 0.17; p = .12) for the hypothesized nonsusceptible genotypes. Macrotrials showed more evidence of genetic differential susceptibility than microtrials, and differential susceptibility was more clearly observed in trials with externalizing and cognitive outcomes than with internalizing problems. This meta-analysis shows proof of principle for genetic differential susceptibility and indicates that it is time to explore its mechanisms and limits. The concept of differential susceptibility alters the idea of constitutional "risk" factors (reactive temperament and risk genotypes), and points to intervention efficacy hidden in Gene × Environment interactions.
    Development and Psychopathology 02/2015; 27(1):151-62. DOI:10.1017/S0954579414001369 · 4.89 Impact Factor