5-HTTLPR Gene increases depression risk

Đào Anh Phúc

Senior Member
Mối tương quan giữa chứng căng thẳng và bệnh trầm cảm liên quan đến gene ?5-HTTLPR điều hòa lượng SEROTONIN ( một hóa chất ức chế thần kinh )

Gene increases depression risk
Mon, 06 Mar 2006
Australian scientists have isolated a gene present in up to one-fifth of the population that doubles their chances of suffering from depression.

University of New South Wales researchers found that people who inherited a shorter than normal version of a gene known as 5-HTTLPR had an 80 percent chance of developing depression when confronted with stressful life events.

In an article published in the British Journal of Psychiatry this month, they said 5-HTTLPR was a "serotonin transporter gene, which helped carry the mood-affecting neurotransmitter serotonin around the nervous system.

"An interaction between the 5-HTTLPR and adverse life events was found to significantly predict the onset of major depression for the five years prior to depression onset," the researchers wrote.

Those who have inherited the depression gene had an 80 percent chance of becoming depressed if they had three or more negative events in a year.

By contrast, those with "genetic resilience" against depression only had a 30 percent chance of developing depression in similar circumstances.

The researchers based their findings on DNA samples of a group of 127 people who have been monitored every five years since 1978 for depression onset and major life events.

Forty-two percent of subjects had suffered from a major episode of depression.

The research found that 21 percent of people had a genetic makeup that predisposed them to depression, 26 percent were resilient to the condition and 53 percent had a mix of the two genotypes

However, University of NSW head professor Philip Mitchell said depression was not predetermined and a series of stressful major life events acted as "tipping factors" in bringing on the condition.

"It's not just one negative life event, such as a health crisis," he said.

"The critical issue here is when you're exposed to a series of life events during a period of a year. There is a threshold."

Fellow researcher Kay Wilhelm said the research could have significant implications for treatment of depression.

"Perhaps you could reduce the likelihood of depression amongst those with the vulnerable genotype, by training them up in terms of improving their coping styles and stress responses," she said.

"Eventually you might be able to better identify those who are likely to be at risk, suggest psychological treatment at times and even work out the best kind of antidepressant to use, if the need arises," she added.



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