Genetic moderation of environmental risk for depression and anxiety in adolescent girls
ABSTRACT There is huge individual variation in people's response to negative life events.
To test the hypothesis that genetic factors moderate susceptibility to the environmentally mediated risks associated with negative life events.
The Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development (VTSABD) was used to study the effects of independent life events (assessed from maternal interview) on depression/anxiety (assessed from child interview) in 184 same-gender female twin pairs, aged 14--7 years, measured on two occasions.
There was no genetic effect on the independent negative life events studied. A significant gene-environment interaction was found using structural equation modelling. There was no effect of independent life events on adolescents' depression in the absence of parental emotional disorder, but a significant effect in its presence.
There is an environmentally mediated effect of life events on depression/anxiety. Genetic factors play a significant role in individual differences in susceptibility to these environmentally mediated risks.
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ABSTRACT: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a pleomorphic illness originating from gene x environment interactions. Patients with differing symptom phenotypes receive the same diagnosis and similar treatment recommendations without regard to genomics, brain structure or function, or other physiologic or psychosocial factors. Using this present approach, only one third of patients enter remission with the first medication prescribed, and patients may take longer than 1 year to enter remission with repeated trials. Research to improve treatment effectiveness recently has focused on identification of intermediate phenotypes (IPs) that could parse the heterogeneous population of patients with MDD into subgroups with more homogeneous responses to treatment. Such IPs could be used to develop biomarkers that could be applied clinically to match patients with the treatment that would be most likely to lead to remission. Putative biomarkers include genetic polymorphisms, RNA and protein expression (transcriptome and proteome), neurotransmitter levels (metabolome), additional measures of signaling cascades, oscillatory synchrony, neuronal circuits and neural pathways (connectome), along with other possible physiologic measures. All of these measures represent components of a continuum that extends from proximity to the genome to proximity to the clinical phenotype of depression, and there are many levels along this continuum at which useful IPs may be defined. Because of the highly integrative nature of brain systems and the complex neurobiology of depression, the most useful biomarkers are likely to be those with intermediate proximity both to the genome and the clinical phenotype of MDD. Translation of findings across the spectrum from genotype to phenotype promises to better characterize the complex disruptions in signaling and neuroplasticity that accompany MDD, and ultimately to lead to greater understanding of the causes of depressive illness.Dialogues in clinical neuroscience 12/2014; 16(4):525-37.
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ABSTRACT: Brain serotonin (5-HT) deficiency and exposure to psychosocial stress have both been implicated in the etiology of depression and anxiety disorders, but whether 5-HT deficiency influences susceptibility to depression- and anxiety-like phenotypes induced by psychosocial stress has not been formally established. Most clinically effective antidepressants increase the extracellular levels of 5-HT, and thus it has been hypothesized that antidepressant responses result from the reversal of endogenous 5-HT deficiency, but this hypothesis remains highly controversial. Here we evaluated the impact of brain 5-HT deficiency on stress susceptibility and antidepressant-like responses using tryptophan hydroxylase 2 knockin (Tph2KI) mice, which display 60-80% reductions in brain 5-HT. Our results demonstrate that 5-HT deficiency leads to increased susceptibility to social defeat stress (SDS), a model of psychosocial stress, and prevents the fluoxetine (FLX)-induced reversal of SDS-induced social avoidance, suggesting that 5-HT deficiency may impair antidepressant responses. In light of recent clinical and preclinical studies highlighting the potential of inhibiting the lateral habenula (LHb) to achieve antidepressant and antidepressant-like responses, we also examined whether LHb inhibition could achieve antidepressant-like responses in FLX-insensitive Tph2KI mice subjected to SDS. Our data reveal that using designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDs) to inhibit LHb activity leads to reduced SDS-induced social avoidance behavior in both WT and Tph2KI mice. This observation provides additional preclinical evidence that inhibiting the LHb might represent a promising alternative therapeutic approach under conditions in which selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitors are ineffective.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2015; 112(8). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1416866112 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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