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Associations between stress and depression symptom profiles vary according to serotonin transporter polymorphism in rural Australians

Authors Sharpley CF, Bitsika V, McMillan ME, Jesulola E, Agnew LL

Received 15 March 2018

Accepted for publication 18 April 2018

Published 10 August 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 2007—2016

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S168291

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang


Christopher F Sharpley,1 Vicki Bitsika,2 Mary E McMillan,1 Emmanuel Jesulola,1 Linda L Agnew1

1Brain-Behaviour Research Group, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia; 2Centre for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Bond University, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia

Purpose: Depression remains difficult to treat in all cases, and further investigation of the role of genetic and environmental factors may be valuable. This study was designed to investigate the association between the short (s) versus non-short (non-s) 5HTTLPR variants, presence of childhood stressors and recent life stressors, and depression, and to do so at two levels that would expose the associations between total depression scores and also individual depression items.
Materials and methods: Two hundred and forty-nine volunteers from one of the Australian Electoral Office electorates covering a large rural land area completed a series of questionnaires about childhood and recent life stress and depression, and provided a buccal cell sample for genotyping the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism into s versus non-s carriers.
Results: Although there were no significant differences in the depression scores of the s-carriers versus the non-s carriers, each subtype of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism showed different patterns of association between childhood stress and depression symptoms, and between recent life stress and depression symptoms.
Conclusion: Individualization of therapy for depression may be achieved through consideration of the specific associations that patients exhibit between life stress, 5-HTTLPR polymorphism, and depression symptomatology.

Keywords:
genes, mental health, life experiences

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