Psychiatric Genetics

Skip Navigation LinksHome > December 2011 - Volume 21 - Issue 6 > Life stressors and 5-HTTLPR interaction in relation to midpr...
Text sizing:
Psychiatric Genetics:
doi: 10.1097/YPG.0b013e32834603e8
Original Articles

Life stressors and 5-HTTLPR interaction in relation to midpregnancy depressive symptoms among African–American women

Scheid, Jeanette M.a; Holzman, Claudia B.b; Jones, Nicoleb; Friderici, Karen H.e; Jernigan, Katherine A.e; Symonds, Laura L.c; Sikorskii, Allaf; Fisher, Racheld

Collapse Box


Objective: In earlier analyses of nonHispanic White women we found a stronger relation between abuse history and midpregnancy elevated depressive symptoms in women with the serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR) S/S genotype. Here, we focus on African–American women (N=698). Our inquiry is motivated by racial differences in depression diagnosis/treatment, stressors, and frequency of major 5-HTTLPR alleles (S, LA, LG).

Materials and methods: Stressful life events (lifetime) and depressive symptoms (current) were ascertained at 15–27 weeks gestation. A Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Score of more than or equal to 18 was considered ‘elevated’. Life events were scored together and separated into six subconstructs. 5-HTTLPR genotypes were grouped as follows: (i) L and S alleles, (ii) S-LG equivalence (‘triallelic to biallelic’), and (iii) LA/LA, all others, S/S (‘high/intermediate/low’). Odds ratios (OR) for ‘elevated’ depressive symptoms-life events (total and subconstructs) relations were calculated for each genotype grouping.

Results: The prevalence of ‘elevated’ depressive symptoms did not vary by genotype. The relation between stressful life events and ‘elevated’ depressive symptoms was stronger in S/S compared with LA/LA genotype (interaction P=0.11). Of the six subconstructs, only abuse showed a statistically significant gene–environment interaction. The OR for the abuse-‘elevated’ depressive symptoms association was greater for S/S vs. LA/LA genotype (interaction P=0.03) and in the ‘triallelic to biallelic’ grouping (interaction P=0.04). In the ‘high/intermediate/low’ grouping, ‘low’ (S/S) had a higher OR (5.5) than both ‘intermediate’ and ‘high’ (ORs≤2.3) (interaction P=0.10).

Conclusions: These results show the importance of examining racial groups, specific stressful events, and different 5-HTTLPR genotype groupings when exploring gene–environment interactions in depression.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


Article Tools


Article Level Metrics

Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.