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Interrelation Between Increased BDNF Gene Methylation and High Sociotropy, a Personality Vulnerability Factor in Cognitive Model of Depression

Authors Shirata T, Suzuki A, Matsumoto Y, Noto K, Goto K, Otani K

Received 2 March 2020

Accepted for publication 29 April 2020

Published 15 May 2020 Volume 2020:16 Pages 1257—1263

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S252177

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Taro Kishi


Toshinori Shirata,1 Akihito Suzuki,1 Yoshihiko Matsumoto,1 Keisuke Noto,1 Kaoru Goto,2 Koichi Otani1

1Department of Psychiatry, Yamagata University School of Medicine, Yamagata 990-9585, Japan; 2Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Yamagata University School of Medicine, Yamagata 990-9585, Japan

Correspondence: Toshinori Shirata Email white_gregory000@yahoo.co.jp

Purpose: It is suggested that increased methylation of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene is involved in the pathogenesis of depression, while sociotropy and autonomy are proposed as personality vulnerability factors in cognitive model of depression. We examined the interrelation between BDNF gene methylation and sociotropy or autonomy, with taking into account the previously reported deleterious effect of parental overprotection on sociotropy.
Materials and Methods: The participants consisted of 90 healthy Japanese volunteers. Methylation levels of the BDNF gene in peripheral blood were quantified by bisulfite pyrosequencing. Sociotropy and autonomy were assessed by the Sociotropy-Autonomy Scale, and perceived parental protection was evaluated by the Parental Bonding Instrument.
Results: In Pearson’s correlation analysis, there was a positive correlation between methylation levels of the BDNF gene and sociotropy scores (p< 0.05) but not autonomy scores, and a positive correlation between maternal protection scores and sociotropy scores (p< 0.05). In structural equation modeling, two models were proposed; the first one is that hypermethylation of the BDNF gene and maternal overprotection independently contribute to high sociotropy, and the second one is that maternal overprotection contributes to high sociotropy which then leads to hypermethylation of the BDNF gene.
Conclusion: The present study suggests an interrelation between increased BDNF gene methylation and high sociotropy.

Keywords: autonomy, BDNF gene, methylation, parental protection, sociotropy


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