Filling the Gap: Relationship Between the Serotonin-Transporter-Linked Polymorphic Region and Amygdala Activation

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Abstract

The alleged association between the serotonin-transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) and amygdala activation forms a cornerstone of the common view that carrying the short allele of this polymorphism is a potential risk factor for affective disorders. The authors of a recent meta-analysis showed that this association is statistically significant (Hedges's g = 0.35) but warned that estimates might be distorted because of publication bias. Here, we report a replication study of this relationship in 120 participants. We failed to find an association of 5-HTTLPR variation with amygdala activation during a widely used emotional-face-matching paradigm. Moreover, when we conducted a meta-analysis that included unpublished studies and data from the current study, the pooled meta-analytic effect size was no longer significant (g = 0.20, p = .06). These findings cast doubt on previously reported substantial effects, suggesting that the 5-HTTLPR-amygdala association is either much smaller than previously thought, conditional on other factors, or nonexistent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2058-2066
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Science
Volume25
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2014

Keywords

  • SLC6A4
  • 5-HTTLPR
  • amygdala
  • imaging genetics
  • publication bias
  • meta-analysis
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • PSYCHIATRIC-DISORDERS
  • 5-HTTLPR GENOTYPE
  • GENETIC-VARIATION
  • MENTAL-DISORDERS
  • MENSTRUAL-CYCLE
  • NEUROTICISM
  • REAPPRAISAL
  • ASSOCIATION
  • DEPRESSION

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