Background: Loss of parent during childhood or loss of partner has been associated with adulthood depression. The serotonin transporter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) has been reported to moderate stress sensitivity reflected for example in the relationship between childhood maltreatment and depression. Therefore, the effect of 5-HTT promoter variation on the relationship between the loss of parent or partner and depression was examined. Method: 411 depressive cases and 1347 control subjects from a large well-characterized longitudinal population-based sample of adult Swedes with data on life history and life situation, including psychiatric diagnostic instruments, were studied. Their DNA was genotyped for the mini-haplotype 5-HTTLPR-rs25531. Results: Individuals with low 5-HTT activity variants had an increased risk of depression given loss of partner last year compared to those with high activity variants. Conversely, 5-HTT activity variation appeared not to strongly influence the risk of depression given loss of parent during childhood. Limitation: Small sample size for those with losses of both parent and partner. Limited power to detect small interaction effects. Conclusion: The increased risk of depression given last year loss of partner appeared to be influenced by genetic variation regulating 5-HTT activity. This adds to previous findings of 5-HTT x stressful life events interactions on depression and is in agreement with stronger GxE effects when using objective environmental measures. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Fandiño-Losada, A., Wei, Y., Åberg, E., Sjöholm, L. K., Lavebratt, C., & Forsell, Y. (2013). Influence of serotonin transporter promoter variation on the effects of separation from parent/partner on depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 144(3), 216–224. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2012.06.034