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Serotonin transporter gene status predicts caudate nucleus but not amygdala or hippocampal volumes in older persons with major depression


BACKGROUND: Although the short allele of the serotonin transporter promoter polymorphism (5-HTT) has been linked to increased risk of major depression in early adult life, its relationships with late-life depression and to changes in subcortical nuclei remain unclear. METHODS: 5-HTT genotypes (SS, SL, LL) were determined for 45 older persons with major depression (mean age=52.0, sd=12.8) and 16 healthy controls (mean age=55.8, sd=10.3). MRI-derived volumes of the amygdala, hippocampus, caudate and putamen were determined by reliable tracing techniques. RESULTS: In those with depression, the short allele of 5-HTT was associated with smaller caudate nucleus volumes. Although hippocampal and amygdala volumes were smaller in those with depression as compared with control subjects, 5-HTT gene status did not predict this reduction in size. LIMITATIONS: The findings are limited by the number of clinical and control participants. CONCLUSIONS: Reduced caudate nucleus volume in older patients with major depression was associated with the short allele of the 5-HTT gene. This regional brain change may be a consequence of early developmental expression as well as later vascular or degenerative effects of this genotype.

Type Journal
ISBN 0165-0327 (Print)
Authors Hickie, I. B.;Naismith, S. L.;Ward, P. B.;Scott, E. M.;Mitchell, P. B.;Schofield, P. R.;Scimone, A.;Wilhelm, K.;Parker, G. :
Published Date 2007-01-01
Published Volume 98
Published Issue 1-2
Published Pages 137-42
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version