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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    • "Genetic factors have been shown to influence antidepressant drugs (ADs) response in major depressive disorder (MDD) (Klengel and Binder, 2013). In particular, variations in the gene encoding for the serotonin 2A (5-HT 2A ) receptor subtype have been associated with clinical outcome after antidepressant treatment. "
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    ABSTRACT: Pharmacological studies have yielded valuable insights into the role of the serotonin 2A (5-HT2A) receptor in major depressive disorder (MDD) and antidepressant drugs (ADs) response. However, it is still unknown whether genetic variants in the HTR2A gene affect the therapeutic outcome of ADs and the mechanism underlying the regulation of such response remains poorly described. In this context, a translational human-mouse study offers a unique opportunity to address the possibility that variations in the HTR2A gene may represent a relevant marker to predict the efficacy of ADs. In a first part of this study, we investigated in depressed patients the effect of three HTR2A single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), selected for their potential functional consequences on 5-HT2A receptor (rs6313, rs6314 and rs7333412), on response and remission rates after 3 months of antidepressant treatments. We also explored the consequences of the constitutive genetic inactivation of the 5-HT2A receptor (i.e. in 5-HT2A(-/-) mice) on the activity of acute and prolonged administration of SSRIs. Our clinical data indicate that GG patients for the rs7333412 SNP were less prone to respond to ADs than AA/AG patients. In the preclinical study, we demonstrated that the 5-HT2A receptor exerts an inhibitory influence on the neuronal activity of the serotonergic system after acute administration of SSRIs. However, while the chronic administration of the SSRIs escitalopram or fluoxetine elicited a progressive increased in the firing rate of 5-HT neurons in 5-HT2A(+/+) mice, it failed to do so in 5-HT2A(-/-) mutants. These electrophysiological impairments were associated with a decreased ability of the chronic administration of fluoxetine to stimulate hippocampal plasticity and to produce antidepressant-like activities. Genetic loss of the 5-HT2A receptor compromised the activity of chronic treatment with SSRIs, making this receptor a putative marker to predict ADs response.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Neuropharmacology
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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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    ABSTRACT: Background: Extensive research efforts have generated genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and functional data hoping to elucidate psychiatric pathophysiology. Selected reaction monitoring, a recently developed targeted proteomic mass spectrometric approach, has made it possible to evaluate previous findings and hypotheses with high sensitivity, reproducibility, and quantitative accuracy. Methods: Here, we have developed a labelled multiplexed selected reaction monitoring assay, comprising 56 proteins previously implicated in the aetiology of major psychiatric disorders, including cell type markers or targets and effectors of known psychopharmacological interventions. We analyzed postmortem anterior prefrontal cortex (Brodmann area 10) tissue of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia (n=22), bipolar disorder (n=23), and major depressive disorder with (n=11) and without (n=11) psychotic features compared with healthy controls (n=22). Results: Results agreed with several previous studies, with the finding of alterations of Wnt-signalling and glutamate receptor abundance predominately in bipolar disorder and abnormalities in energy metabolism across the neuropsychiatric disease spectrum. Calcium signalling was predominantly affected in schizophrenia and affective psychosis. Interestingly, we were able to show a decrease of all 4 tested oligodendrocyte specific proteins (MOG, MBP, MYPR, CNPase) in bipolar disorder and to a lesser extent in schizophrenia and affective psychosis. Finally, we provide new evidence linking ankyrin 3 specifically to affective psychosis and the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome-associated protein septin 5 to schizophrenia. Conclusions: Our study highlights the potential of selected reaction monitoring to evaluate the protein abundance levels of candidate markers of neuropsychiatric spectrum disorders, providing a high throughput multiplex platform for validation of putative disease markers and drug targets.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Psychoneuroendocrinology
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