The serotonin transporter gene polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) and affective symptoms among women diagnosed with borderline personality disorder
ABSTRACT Gene variants of the serotonin transporter have been associated with vulnerability to affective disorders. In particular, the presence of one or two copies of the short (s) allele of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism has been associated with reduced serotonin transporter expression and function, and vulnerability to affective disorders. To test for an association between variants of the serotonin transporter gene polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) and relevant clinical features of borderline personality disorder (BPD), a psychiatric disorder with symptoms characteristic for serotonin dysfunction, 77 women with BPD were genotyped in the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism. They rated their subjective experience of borderline-specific, depressive, anxious and obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and were interviewed about lifetime incidence of suicide attempts and self-harming acts. Carriers of two s alleles of the 5-HTTLPR reported more symptoms of borderline, depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive behaviours, but not of suicidal and self-injury behaviour, compared to carriers of a long (l) allele. This indicates that the 5-HTTLPR ss homozygous genotype might influence serotonin function affecting susceptibility to both borderline-specific, depressive, anxious and obsessive-compulsive symptoms in BPD, and leading to a more severe symptomatology related to these clinical features. Further, this suggests that 5-HTT gene variants may not be as influential on suicidal and self-injury behaviour in BPD.
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ABSTRACT: Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of the most common mental disorders and is characterized by a pervasive pattern of emotional lability, impulsivity, interpersonal difficulties, identity disturbances, and disturbed cognition. Here, we performed a systematic review of the literature concerning the genetics of BPD, including familial and twin studies, association studies, and gene-environment interaction studies. Moreover, meta-analyses were performed when at least two case-control studies testing the same polymorphism were available. For each gene variant, a pooled odds ratio (OR) was calculated using fixed or random effects models. Familial and twin studies largely support the potential role of a genetic vulnerability at the root of BPD, with an estimated heritability of approximately 40%. Moreover, there is evidence for both gene-environment interactions and correlations. However, association studies for BPD are sparse, making it difficult to draw clear conclusions. According to our meta-analysis, no significant associations were found for the serotonin transporter gene, the tryptophan hydroxylase 1 gene, or the serotonin 1B receptor gene. We hypothesize that such a discrepancy (negative association studies but high heritability of the disorder) could be understandable through a paradigm shift, in which "plasticity" genes (rather than "vulnerability" genes) would be involved. Such a framework postulates a balance between positive and negative events, which interact with plasticity genes in the genesis of BPD.Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 03/2014; 40:6-19. DOI:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.01.003 · 10.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study examined rates of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) over 10 years of prospective follow-up among recovered and non-recovered patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Subsequently, risk factors for IBS were examined in female BPD patients. As part of the McLean Study of Adult Development, 264 BPD patients were assessed at baseline, and their medical conditions and time-varying predictors of IBS were assessed over five waves of follow-up (from 6-year follow-up to 16-year follow-up). Semi-structured interviews were used to assess both our IBS outcome variable and our baseline and time-varying predictor variables. Rates of IBS were not significantly different between recovered and non-recovered borderline patients when men and women were considered together and when men were considered alone. However, a significant difference in IBS rates was found between recovered and non-recovered female BPD patients, with the latter reporting significantly higher rates. The rates of IBS in women with BPD were found to be significantly predicted by a family history of IBS and a childhood history of verbal, emotional and/or physical abuse. Taken together, the results of this study suggest that both biological/social learning factors and childhood adversity may be risk factors for IBS in women with BPD. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Personality and Mental Health 02/2014; 8(1):14-23. DOI:10.1002/pmh.1237 · 1.10 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The goal of this article is to advance understanding of borderline personality disorder (BPD) as an emotional disorder and to use this information as a heuristic for reconceptualizing targeted treatment approaches. The first section reviews evidence that BPD is characterized by the hallmark of emotional disorders, frequent intense negative emotions, and adverse reactions to them. Next, overlap between BPD and other emotional disorders is described, followed by a section delineating how these similarities can be largely accounted for by a shared underlying vulnerability, namely, high levels of neuroticism. Finally, we discuss the treatment implications of this conception of BPD in the context of recent transdiagnostic approaches to emotional disorders.Clinical Psychology Science and Practice 06/2014; 21(2). DOI:10.1111/cpsp.12063 · 2.92 Impact Factor