Article: PDF OnlyAssociation of a serotonin transporter gene promoter polymorphism with harm avoidance behaviour in an elderly populationRicketts, M. H.a; Hamer, R. M.a; Sage, J. I.b; Manowitz, P.a,b; Feng, F.a; Menza, M. A.a,bAuthor Information aDepartments of Psychiatry, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 675 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA bDepartments of Neurology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 675 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA Psychiatric Genetics: Summer 1998 - Volume 8 - Issue 2 - p 41-44 Buy Abstract A polymorphic 44-nucleotide insertion/deletion in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) has been shown to affect the level of expression of the serotonin transporter protein. An association between anxiety-related behavioural traits and the short form of the 5-HTTLPR has been reported. We determined the 5-HTTLPR genotype in genomic DNA samples from 84 subjects (47 Parkinson's disease patients and 37 controls) with a mean age of 67.4 years. The TPQ of Cloninger was used to obtain values for harm avoidance (HA), reward dependence and novelty seeking for all subjects. Analysis of variance showed a significant influence of the s-allele of the 5-HTTLPR on HA in both subject groups, with no significant interaction between diagnosis and genotype. Subjects with the l/l-genotype had significantly lower mean HA scores than the l/s subjects (P < 0.04) and s/s subjects (P < 0.003). A linear change in HA with genotype was observed, indicating a gene dose effect of the 5-HTTLPR s-allele on this personality dimension. Based on these findings it is suggested that there may be increased influence of the 5-HTTLPR short allele on anxiety-related traits during aging. Psychiatr Genet 8:41–44 c 1998 Lippincott-Raven Publishers. © Lippincott-Raven Publishers.