5-HTTLPR genotype influences amygdala volume

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Functional imaging studies in healthy individuals revealed an association between 5-HTTLPR genotype and neuronal activity in the amygdala. The aim of this study was firstly to investigate a possible overall impact of the 5-HTTLPR on amygdala volume in patients with bipolar disorder and healthy individuals and secondly to test a diagnosis specific influence of the 5-HTTLPR on amygdala volume.<br /><br />METHODS: We performed a region of interest analysis of amygdala volume in 37 patients with bipolar I disorder and 37 healthy control subjects. The 5-HTTLPR genotype of each proband was determined and the subjects were separated according to 5-HTTLPR genotype and for statistical analyses the groups SS and SL were combined and compared with the group LL.<br /><br />RESULTS: This study shows that carriers of the short allele (SL or SS) of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism exhibit a relatively increased volume of the right amygdala compared to homozygous L-allele carriers irrespective of diagnosis status. However, further analyses with the factors genotype and diagnosis were not able to reproduce this result.<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS: The present findings are consistent with the view that the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism might modulate neuronal size or number in the amygdala. It would be worthwhile investigating the relationship between serotonin transporter function and amygdala function and volume in further studies.

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Scherk, H., Gruber, O., Menzel, P., Schneider-Axmann, T., Kemmer, C., Usher, J., … Falkai, P. (2009). 5-HTTLPR genotype influences amygdala volume. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 259(4), 212–217. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00406-008-0853-4

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