Oxytocin receptor (OXTR) and serotonin transporter (5-HTT) genes associated with observed parenting

Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University, PO Box 9555, NL-2300 RB Leiden, The Netherlands.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 5.88). 07/2008; 3(2):128-34. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsn004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Both oxytocin and serotonin modulate affiliative responses to partners and offspring. Animal studies suggest a crucial role of oxytocin in mammalian parturition and lactation but also in parenting and social interactions with offspring. The serotonergic system may also be important through its influence on mood and the release of oxytocin. We examined the role of serotonin transporter (5-HTT) and oxytocin receptor (OXTR) genes in explaining differences in sensitive parenting in a community sample of 159 Caucasian, middle-class mothers with their 2-year-old toddlers at risk for externalizing behavior problems, taking into account maternal educational level, maternal depression and the quality of the marital relationship. Independent genetic effects of 5-HTTLPR SCL6A4 and OXTR rs53576 on observed maternal sensitivity were found. Controlling for differences in maternal education, depression and marital discord, parents with the possibly less efficient variants of the serotonergic (5-HTT ss) and oxytonergic (AA/AG) system genes showed lower levels of sensitive responsiveness to their toddlers. Two-way and three-way interactions with marital discord or depression were not significant. This first study on the role of both OXTR and 5-HTT genes in human parenting points to molecular genetic differences that may be implicated in the production of oxytocin explaining differences in sensitive parenting.

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Available from: Marinus H. van IJzendoorn, Aug 23, 2015
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    • "Based on these behavioral differences, we conducted a geneculture interaction study in which Korean and American participants indicated their tendency to regulate their emotions using suppression, and we determined their genotype for an oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR rs53576) (Kim et al. 2011). The G allele of OXTR rs53576 is associated with more sensitive parenting behavior (Bakermans-Kranenburg & van IJzendoorn 2008), greater sensitivity to infant crying (Riem et al. 2011), more empathic accuracy (Rodrigues et al. 2009), and less loneliness (Lucht et al. 2009) compared with the adenine (A) allele. The results of this study showed the expected interaction between culture and OXTR (Kim et al. 2011). "
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    Annual Review of Psychology 09/2013; 65. DOI:10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115040 · 20.53 Impact Factor
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    • "Our series of meta-analyses on the effects of OXTR rs53576 and OXTR rs2254298 on various domains of human functioning do not support a substantial role for these two candidate gene markers. Significant effects of some of the pioneering studies (e.g., Wu et al, 2005; Bakermans-Kranenburg & Van IJzendoorn, 2008) were not replicated in later studies, demonstrating the so-called winners curse (Lohmueller, Pearce, Pike, Lander, & Hirschhorn, 2003): these early studies on rather small samples may have overestimated the true effect. The current meta-analyses covered more than 17,000 subjects in the case of rs53576, and more than 13,000 subjects in the case of rs2254298, leading to narrow confidence intervals around the point estimates of the combined effect sizes. "
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    ABSTRACT: Variation in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene may partly explain individual differences in oxytocin-related social behavior. Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been suggested as promising candidates: rs53576 and rs2254298, although the results of studies were not consistent. We carried out meta-analyses for these two SNPs, covering five domains of outcomes: (a) biology, (b) personality, (c) social behavior, (d) psychopathology, and (e) autism, on the basis of 82 pertinent effect sizes, 48 for OXTR rs53576 (N=17 559) and 34 for OXTR rs2254298 (N=13 547). Combined effect sizes did not differ from zero in any of the domains, nor for all domains combined. Clinical status, age, and sex did not moderate the effect sizes. Minor allele frequency was related to ethnicity, with significantly lower minor allele frequencies in samples with predominantly Caucasian participants. The domain of biological functioning seemed most promising, but comprised few studies. We conclude that so far two of the most intensively studied OXTR SNPs (rs53576 and rs2254298) failed to explain a significant part of human social behavior.
    Psychiatric genetics 08/2013; 24(2). DOI:10.1097/YPG.0b013e3283643684 · 2.27 Impact Factor
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    • "We expected adolescents with the short allele of the 5-HTTLPR gene and the A allele of the OXTR gene to have higher levels of loneliness compared with adolescents with other combinations of genotypes. A previous study on sensitive parenting did find an interaction between 5-HTTLPR and OXTR in adult women (Bakermans-Kranenburg and van Ijzendoorn, 2008). As mentioned before, gene effects can be age dependent (e.g. "
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    ABSTRACT: Recent research has shown that loneliness, a common problem in adolescence, may have a genetic basis. The evidence, though, was limited mostly to serotonin-related and dopamine-related genes. In the present study, we focused on the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR). Associations were examined in a longitudinal study spanning five annual waves (N=307). The relations between OXTR and loneliness were examined, as well as interactions between OXTR and sex, parental support, 5-HTTLPR genotype, and DRD2 genotype. Using Latent Growth Curve Modeling, the OXTR genotype was not directly related to loneliness. An OXTR×sex interaction was found. Girls showed a steeper decline in loneliness when they had an A allele compared with girls who were homozygous for the G allele. In addition, a gene-gene interaction or epistasis was observed. Both boys and girls who had at least one A1 allele for the DRD2 gene and also had the GG genotype for the OXTR gene showed stable levels of loneliness over time. The present study is the first to show that the GG genotype for the OXTR gene is linked to the development of loneliness in adolescence and that this association is moderated by participants' sex and their genotype for a dopamine-related gene.
    Psychiatric genetics 07/2013; 23(5). DOI:10.1097/YPG.0b013e328363f631 · 2.27 Impact Factor
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