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: 2.55). 02/2013; 58(2):76-83.
Source: PubMed


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 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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