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Pharmacogenomics J. 2001;1(1):71-7.

Serotonin transporter gene associated with lithium prophylaxis in mood disorders.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Vita-Salute University, San Raffaele Institute, Milan, Italy.


The aim of this study was to investigate the possible association between the functional polymorphism in the upstream regulatory region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) and the prophylactic efficacy of lithium in mood disorders. Two hundred and one subjects affected by bipolar (n = 167) and major depressive (n = 34) disorder were followed prospectively for an average of 58.2 months and were typed for their 5-HTTLPR variant using polymerase chain reaction techniques. 5-HTTLPR variants were associated with lithium outcome (F = 5.35; df = 2,198; P = 0.005). Subjects with the s/s variant showed a worse response compared to both l/s and l/l variants. Consideration of possible stratification effects such as sex, polarity, age at onset, duration of lithium treatment and previous episodes did not influence the observed association. 5-HTTLPR variants may be a possible influencing factor for the prophylactic efficacy of lithium in mood disorders.

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