Article

Gene-environment interactions in major depressive disorder

Post-Doctoral Researcher and Resident in Psychiatry, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany.
Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie (Impact Factor: 2.41). 02/2013; 58(2):76-83.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Family, twin, and epidemiologic studies have suggested that both genes and environment are important risk factors for the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). In the absence of consistent and strong main genetic effects, numerous studies have supported gene-environment interactions in this disorder. While the impact of negative environmental factors, such as early life stress, traumatic experiences, and negative life events have been established as risk factors, they are not sufficient to predict MDD. This article will review evidence suggesting that genetic variants moderate the effects of adversities on the development of MDD, with a focus on the importance of careful characterization of the stressful life events as well as systemic and molecular mechanisms that potentially mediate these gene-environment interactions.

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    • "The underlying reasons likely involve a larger genetic, but also phenotypic, heterogeneity and a stronger influence of the environment (Levinson et al, 2014). Alternative models such as gene by environment interaction studies take this dual influence into account and may provide more insight into the pathophysiology of these disorders in the future (Klengel and Binder, 2013a; Manuck and McCaffery, 2014; Binder and Hariri, this issue). Environmental factors influencing the long-term risk for psychiatric disorders have been known for centuries. "
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    ABSTRACT: Trajectories toward risk or resilience in psychiatric disorders are influenced by acquired and inherited factors. More recently, evidence from rodent studies suggest that acquired risk factors can be transmitted through non-genomic, epigenetic mechanisms to subsequent generations, potentially contributing to a cycle of disease and disease risk. Here, we review examples of transmission of environmental factors across generations and illustrate the difference between behavioral transmission and epigenetic inheritance. We highlight essential definitions of inter- and transgenerational transmission of disease risk with corresponding examples. We then explore how these phenomena may influence our understanding of psychiatric disorders leading toward new prevention and therapeutic approaches.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 18 August 2015. doi:10.1038/npp.2015.249.
    Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 08/2015; DOI:10.1038/npp.2015.249 · 7.83 Impact Factor
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    • "schizophrenia (SZ), bipolar disorder (BD), and major depressive disorder (MDD) are largely unknown. These disorders are heterogeneous in nature, with genetic and environmental factors contributing to pathogenesis and aetiology (Levinson, 2006; van Os and Kapur, 2009; Kim et al., 2011; Craddock and Sklar, 2013; Klengel and Binder, 2013). Symptom profiles greatly overlap with regards to clinical psychopathology as well as putative pathophysiology (Smoller et al., 2013). "
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    The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 10/2014; 18(1). DOI:10.1093/ijnp/pyu015 · 5.26 Impact Factor
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    • "The gene  environment interaction framework postulates that environmental factors cause disorders to occur and that genetic variants influence vulnerability as well as resilience to these factors, leading to psychopathology in some individuals only. It is well established that the experience of life adversity is an important environmental factor in the etiology of MDD (Klengel and Binder, 2013). For example, a study by Kendler and colleagues demonstrated a causal relationship between stressful life events and the onset of MDD (Kendler et al., 1999). "
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    ABSTRACT: Substantial research has been conducted investigating the association between life adversity and genetic vulnerability for depression, but clear mechanistic links are rarely identified and investigation often focused on single genetic variants. Complex phenotypes like depression, however, are likely determined by multiple variants in interaction with environmental factors. As variations in the mineralocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C2) have been related to a higher risk for depression, we investigated whether NR3C2 variance is related to negative memory bias, an established endophenotype for depression, in healthy participants. Furthermore, we explored the influence of life adversity on this association. We used a set-based analysis to simultaneously test all measured variation in NR3C2 for an association with negative memory bias in 483 participants and an interaction with life adversity. To further specify this interaction, we split the sample into low and high live adversity groups and repeated the analyses in both groups separately. NR3C2 variance was associated with negative memory bias, especially in the high life adversity group. Additionally, we identified a functional polymorphism (rs5534) related to negative memory bias and demonstrating a gene × life adversity interaction. Variations in NR3C2 are associated with negative memory bias and this relationship appears to be influenced by life adversity. As negative memory bias is implicated in the susceptibility to depression, our findings provide mechanistic support for the notion that variations in NR3C2 – which could compromise the proper function of this receptor – are a risk factor for the development of mood disorders.
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