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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006 Jan;184(1):82-6. Epub 2005 Dec 7.

The N251K functional polymorphism in the alpha(2A)-adrenoceptor gene is not associated with depression: a study in suicide completers.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Physical Anthropology and Animal Physiology, University of the Basque Country, Leioa, Bizkaia, Spain.



alpha(2A)-Adrenoceptor up-regulation and supersensitivity have been described in the postmortem brains of depressed suicide victims and in the platelets of depressed subjects. The C to G transversion at nucleotide 753 (Asn to Lys change at amino acid 251 or N251K) is a low-frequency polymorphism of the alpha(2A)-adrenoceptor gene that results in a gain-of-function phenotype. A previous study has suggested an association between completed suicide and this polymorphism.


The single functional polymorphism N251K was tested in a large sample (n=214) of completed suicides, controlling for the antemortem psychiatric diagnosis, and matched controls (n=176).


Postmortem brain DNA was extracted and the alpha(2A)-adrenoceptor gene fragment was amplified by polymerase chain reaction, followed by a StyI restriction endonuclease digestion. Amplified products were sequenced to confirm the presence of the alpha(2A)-adrenoceptor gene fragment where the polymorphism is located.


The N251K polymorphism was absent in both suicide victim and control groups. No association between the polymorphism and suicide or depression was established.


The N251K polymorphism does not represent a genetic factor to explain the alpha(2A)-adrenoceptor hyperactivity in the brains of depressed suicide victims. Association between suicide and this polymorphism was not replicated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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