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PLoS One DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0093772

Dopamine genetic risk score predicts depressive symptoms in healthy adults and adults with depression.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsPearson-Fuhrhop, KM, Dunn, EC, Mortero, S, Devan, WJ, Falcone, GJ, Lee, P, Holmes, AJ, Hollinshead, MO, Roffman, JL, Smoller, JW, Rosand, J, Cramer, SC
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2014
KeywordsAdult, Catechol O-Methyltransferase, Depression, Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins, Genetic Variation, Genotype, Humans, Linear Models, Phenotype, Receptors, Dopamine, Risk Assessment

BACKGROUND: Depression is a common source of human disability for which etiologic insights remain limited. Although abnormalities of monoamine neurotransmission, including dopamine, are theorized to contribute to the pathophysiology of depression, evidence linking dopamine-related genes to depression has been mixed. The current study sought to address this knowledge-gap by examining whether the combined effect of dopamine polymorphisms was associated with depressive symptomatology in both healthy individuals and individuals with depression.

METHODS: Data were drawn from three independent samples: (1) a discovery sample of healthy adult participants (n = 273); (2) a replication sample of adults with depression (n = 1,267); and (3) a replication sample of healthy adult participants (n = 382). A genetic risk score was created by combining functional polymorphisms from five genes involved in synaptic dopamine availability (COMT and DAT) and dopamine receptor binding (DRD1, DRD2, DRD3).

RESULTS: In the discovery sample, the genetic risk score was associated with depressive symptomatology (β = -0.80, p = 0.003), with lower dopamine genetic risk scores (indicating lower dopaminergic neurotransmission) predicting higher levels of depression. This result was replicated with a similar genetic risk score based on imputed genetic data from adults with depression (β = -0.51, p = 0.04). Results were of similar magnitude and in the expected direction in a cohort of healthy adult participants (β = -0.86, p = 0.15).

CONCLUSIONS: Sequence variation in multiple genes regulating dopamine neurotransmission may influence depressive symptoms, in a manner that appears to be additive. Further studies are required to confirm the role of genetic variation in dopamine metabolism and depression.


Alternate JournalPLoS ONE
PubMed ID24834916
PubMed Central IDPMC4023941
Grant ListK24 MH094614 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
K99 MH101367 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
5M011 RR-00827-29 / RR / NCRR NIH HHS / United States
K01MH099232 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
R01 NS058755 / NS / NINDS NIH HHS / United States
K24 HD074722 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
UL1 TR000153 / TR / NCATS NIH HHS / United States
K01 MH099232 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States