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Epidemiological support for genetic variability at hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and serotonergic system as risk factors for major depression

Authors Ching-López A, Cervilla J, Rivera M, Molina E, McKenney K, Ruiz-Perez I, Rodríguez-Barranco M, Gutiérrez B

Received 12 June 2015

Accepted for publication 30 July 2015

Published 22 October 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 2743—2754

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S90369

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Roumen Kirov

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Ana Ching-López,1 Jorge Cervilla,1–3 Margarita Rivera,1–3 Esther Molina,4 Kathryn McKenney,2 Isabel Ruiz-Perez,3,5,6 Miguel Rodríguez-Barranco,5 Blanca Gutiérrez1,2

1Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Neurosciences, School of Medicine, University of Granada, Granada, 2CIBER en Salud Mental (CIBERSAM), University of Granada, Granada, 3Instituto de Investigación Biosanitaria Ibs. Granada, Granada, 4Department of Nursing, University of Seville, Seville, 5Andalusian School of Public Health, Granada, 6CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Granada, Spain

Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a serious, and common psychiatric disorder worldwide. By the year 2020, MDD will be the second cause of disability in the world. The Granad∑p study is the first, to the best of our knowledge, epidemiological study of mental disorders carried out in Andalusia (South Spain), being one of its main objectives to identify genetic and environmental risk factors for MDD and other major psychiatric disorders. In this study, we focused on the possible association of 91 candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with MDD.
Methods: A total of 711 community-based individuals participated in the Granad∑p study. All individuals were extensively assessed for clinical, psychological, sociodemographic, life style, and other environmental variables. A biological sample was also collected for subsequent genetic analyses in 91 candidate SNPs for MDD. DSM-IV diagnosis of MDD was used as the outcome variable. Logistic regression analysis assuming an additive genetic model was performed to test the association between MDD and the genetic data. The experiment-wide significance threshold adjusted with the SNP spectral decomposition method provided a maximum P-value (8×10-3) required to identify an association. Haplotype analyses were also performed.
Results: One SNP (rs623580) located in the tryptophan hydroxylase 1 gene (TPH1; chromosome 11), one intergenic variant (rs9526236) upstream of the 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 2A gene (HTR2A; chromosome 13), and five polymorphisms (rs17689966, rs173365, rs7209436, rs110402, and rs242924) located in the corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor 1 gene (CRHR1; chromosome 17), all showed suggestive trends for association with MDD (P<0.05). Within CRHR1 gene, the TATGA haplotype combination was found to increase significantly the risk for MDD with an odds ratio =1.68 (95% CI: 1.16–2.42, P=0.006).
Conclusion: Although limited, perhaps due to insufficient sample size power, our results seem to support the notion that the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal and serotonergic systems are likely to be involved in the genetic susceptibility for MDD. Future studies, including larger samples, should be addressed for further validation and replication of the present findings.

Keywords: genetic association analysis, major depression, HPA axis, serotonergic system

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