Influence of life stress on depression: moderation by a polymorphism in the 5-HTT gene.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

In a prospective-longitudinal study of a representative birth cohort, we tested why stressful experiences lead to depression in some people but not in others. A functional polymorphism in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter (5-HT T) gene was found to moderate the influence of stressful life events on depression. Individuals with one or two copies of the short allele of the 5-HT T promoter polymorphism exhibited more depressive symptoms, diagnosable depression, and suicidality in relation to stressful life events than individuals homozygous for the long allele. This epidemiological study thus provides evidence of a gene-by-environment interaction, in which an individual's response to environmental insults is moderated by his or her genetic makeup.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Caspi, A; Sugden, K; Moffitt, TE; Taylor, A; Craig, IW; Harrington, H; McClay, J; Mill, J; Martin, J; Braithwaite, A; Poulton, R

Published Date

  • July 2003

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 301 / 5631

Start / End Page

  • 386 - 389

PubMed ID

  • 12869766

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-9203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0036-8075

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.1083968


  • eng