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Genes Brain Behav. 2004 Dec;3(6):328-36.

Association of tryptophan hydroxylase gene polymorphism with depression, anxiety and comorbid depression and anxiety in a population-based sample of postpartum Taiwanese women.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Medicine, National Cheng Kung University Medical College, Tainan, Taiwan. hssun@mail.ncku.edu.tw


Depression and anxiety disorders often coexist clinically and both are known to have a genetic basis, but the mode of inheritance is too complicated to be determined so far. Serotonin is the biogenic amine neurotransmitter most commonly associated with depression and anxiety. Since tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH1) is the rate-limiting enzyme in serotonin biosynthesis, its role in the pathophysiology of these psychiatric diseases has been intensively studied. In this study, we examined whether polymorphism of the TPH1 gene is related to the etiology of major depression, anxiety and comorbid depression and anxiety. Five single nucleoside polymorphisms of the TPH1 gene were studied in a population-based sample of postpartum Taiwanese women consisting of 120 subjects with depression or/and anxiety and 86 matched normal controls. A significant difference (P = 0.0107) in genotype frequency for the T27224C polymorphism was found between the comorbid and normal groups, and risk analysis showed that the C allele conferred a strong protective effect (odds ratio = 0.27; 95% confident interval = 0.11-0.7). Three-allele haplotypes involving T27224C polymorphism were constructed and haplotype associations between particular haplotype combinations and various diseases identified. However, the associations were weak and the overall haplotype frequency profiles in all groups were similar. The results suggest that depression, anxiety, and comorbid depression and anxiety disorders may have related etiologies. In addition, this study suggests that the TPH1 gene might play a role in the pathogenesis of these closely related disorders.

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