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J Psychosom Res. 2006 Jan;60(1):91-7.

Gender difference in association between polymorphism of serotonin transporter gene regulatory region and anxiety.

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  • 1Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.



The objective of this study was to verify the hypothesis that variation of the serotonin transporter gene promoter region (5-HTTLPR) is associated with sensitivity to stress.


Genotyping of 5-HTTLPR and evaluation of emotional states were performed on 194 participants. Participants' emotional states were evaluated using the Perceived-Stress Scale (PSS), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), and the Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS).


There was significant GenderxGenotype interaction in STAI (state, P<.05; trait, P<.05). Females with the l/s genotype showed higher anxiety than those with the s/s genotype in both state and trait anxiety. Oppositely, males with the s/s genotype showed higher anxiety than those with the l/s genotype.


On all emotional scales, females with the l/s genotype showed high scores, contrary to males with the same genotype. Therefore, our results suggest that 5-HTTLPR l allele may be one pathway that activates negative emotion in females but acts contrary in males.

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