Study Report

CitationFrodl, 2008 PubMed
Full InfoFrodl, T., Koutsouleris, N., Bottlender, R., Born, C., Jager, M., Morgenthaler, M., Scheuerecker, J., Zill, P., Baghai, T., Schule, C. et al. (2008) Reduced gray matter brain volumes are associated with variants of the serotonin transporter gene in major depression. Mol Psychiatry, 13, 1093-1101.

Hypothesis or Background The serotonergic system is involved in the pathophysiology of major depression as well as in the early central nervous system development and adult neuroplasticity.
Sample Information77 patients with major depression and 77 healthy controls
Method DetailThe aim of the study was to examine in 77 patients with major depression and 77 healthy controls the association between the triallelic polymorphism in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) and gray matter (GM) brain volumes measured with 1.5 T magnetic resonance imaging. Voxel-based morphometry were estimated on magnetic resonance images and genotyping was performed.
Method Keywordsgenotyping; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
ResultWe found that healthy controls have a strong association between the 5-HTTLPR and GM volumes of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, left anterior gyrus cinguli, left amygdala as well as right hippocampus, whereas there is no such association in patients with major depression. Healthy subjects carrying the S- or L(G)-allele have smaller GM volumes than those with the L(A)-allele, indicating that 5-HTTLPR contributes to the development of brain structures.
ConclusionsPatients with depression show reduced GM volumes, particularly when they are homozygous for the L(A)-allele, suggesting that these patients are more vulnerable for morphological changes during depressive episodes.

Relationships reported by Frodl, 2008