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Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2005 Mar;1(1):17-35.

Candidate genes for antidepressant response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

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  • 1University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Department of Psychiatry Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can safely and successfully treat major depression, although a substantial number of patients benefit only partially or not at all from treatment. Genetic polymorphisms may play a major role in determining the response to SSRI treatment. Nonetheless, it is likely that efficacy is determined by multiple genes, with individual genetic polymorphisms having a limited effect size. Initial studies have identified the promoter polymorphism in the gene coding for the serotonin reuptake transporter as moderating efficacy for several SSRIs. The goal of this review is to suggest additional plausible polymorphisms that may be involved in antidepressant efficacy. These include genes affecting intracellular transductional cascades; neuronal growth factors; stress-related hormones, such as corticotropin-releasing hormone and glucocorticoid receptors; ion channels and synaptic efficacy; and adaptations of monoaminergic pathways. Association analyses to examine these candidate genes may facilitate identification of patients for targeted alternative therapies. Determining which genes are involved may also assist in identifying future, novel treatments.


SSRI; depression; pharmacogenetic; pharmacogenomic

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