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Behav Genet. 2012 Jan;42(1):121-32. doi: 10.1007/s10519-011-9482-1. Epub 2011 Jul 26.

Maternal depression and child and adolescent depression symptoms: an exploratory test for moderation by CRHR1, FKBP5 and NR3C1 gene variants.

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  • 1Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Section, Department of Psychological Medicine and Neurology, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.


This study investigated moderation of the association between recurrent maternal depression and offspring depression symptoms by a selection of biologically relevant gene variants. 271 children/adolescents (aged 9.00 to 16.00 years) whose mothers had experienced at least two episodes of DSM-IV major depression and 165 controls (aged 12.25 to 16.67 years) drawn from a population-based twin register were used. Seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from three genes were genotyped in children. The genes were the Corticotropin Receptor Type 1 gene (CRHR1), the gene coding for the FK506 binding protein 5 (FKBP5) and the Glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3c1) along with a haplotype formed by the SNPs in CRHR1. A significant association was found between recurrent maternal depression and depression symptoms in offspring. None of the SNPs were associated with offspring depression symptoms and associations did not differ according to the presence of recurrent maternal depression. However, caution is required due to a relatively small sample size.

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