Early adversity and 5-HTT/BDNF genes: new evidence of gene-environment interactions on depressive symptoms in a general population

M. Aguilera, B. Arias, M. Wichers, N. Barrantes-Vidal, J. Moya, H. Villa, J. van Os, M. I. Ibanez, M. A. Ruiperez, G. Ortet, L. Fananas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

200 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background. Adverse childhood experiences have been described as one of the major environmental risk factors for depressive disorder. Similarly, the deleterious impact of early traumatic experiences on depression seems to be moderated by individual genetic variability. Serotonin transporter (5-HTT) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) modulate the effect of childhood adversity on adult depression, although inconsistencies across studies have been found. Moreover, the gene x environment (G x E) interaction concerning the different types of childhood adversity remains poorly understood. The aim of this study was to analyse the putative interaction between the 5-HTT gene (5-HTTLPR polymorphism), the BDNF gene (Val66Met polymorphism) and childhood adversity in accounting for adult depressive symptoms.

Method. A sample of 534 healthy individuals filled in self-report questionnaires of depressive symptomatology [the Symptom Check List 90 Revised (SCL-90-R)] and different types of childhood adversities [the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ)]. The 5-HTTLPR polymorphism (5-HTT gene) and the Val66Met polymorphism (BDNF gene) were genotyped in the whole sample.

Results. Total childhood adversity (beta=0.27, p

Conclusions. Childhood adversity per se predicted higher levels of adult depressive symptoms. In addition, BDNF Val66Met and 5-HTTLPR polymorphisms seemed to moderate the effect of CSA on adult depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1425-1432
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Medicine
Volume39
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • BDNF Val66Met
  • childhood adversity
  • depression
  • G x E interaction
  • 5-HTTLPR
  • SEROTONIN TRANSPORTER GENE
  • CHILDHOOD SEXUAL-ABUSE
  • STRESSFUL LIFE EVENTS
  • MAJOR DEPRESSION
  • HOUSEHOLD DYSFUNCTION
  • INITIAL RELIABILITY
  • ANXIETY DISORDERS
  • MOOD DISORDERS
  • BDNF VAL66MET
  • TRAUMA

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