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Effects of serotonin transporter promoter and BDNF Val66Met genotype on personality traits in a population representative sample of adolescents

Hiio, Kellia; Merenäkk, Liisb; Nordquist, Niklase; Parik, Jüric; Oreland, Larse; Veidebaum, Toomasd; Harro, Jaanusa

doi: 10.1097/YPG.0b013e32834371e8
Brief Reports

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the 5-HTTLPR and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphisms on self-reported Big Five personality traits and their facets in a population representative sample of adolescents. The sample consisted of both cohorts of the Estonian Children Personality Behaviour and Health Study, and personality data were collected during its second waves. The 5-HTTLPR and BDNF Val66Met polymorphisms were genotyped. The BDNF Val66Met had a significant effect on conscientiousness [F(1,807)=4.32, P=0.038]. We did not find effects of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism on the main domains of personality, however, a gene×gene interaction on conscientiousness emerged -BDNF Val66Met Met-allele carriers with the 5-HTTLPR s/s genotype had by far the lowest scores in conscientiousness [F(2,803)=4.38, P=0.012]. In addition, we found genotype effects on some facet scales. In conclusion, the BDNF Val66Met genotype Met-allele carriers have lower conscientiousness, and this effect is increased in the 5-HTTLPR s/s individuals.

aDepartments of Psychology

bPublic Health, Estonian Centre of Behavioural and Health Sciences

cInstitute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu, Tartu

dNational Institute for Health Development, Estonian Centre of Behavioural and Health Sciences, Tallinn, Estonia

eDepartment of Neuroscience, Pharmacology, University of Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden

Correspondence to Dr Jaanus Harro, MD, PhD, Department of Psychology, Estonian Centre of Behavioural and Health Sciences, University of Tartu, Tiigi 78, EE-50410, Tartu, Estonia Tel: +372 7 375911; fax: +372 7 376152; e-mail:

Received February 17, 2010

Accepted November 23, 2010

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.