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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2010 Jul;35(8):1684-92. doi: 10.1038/npp.2010.37. Epub 2010 Apr 14.

Interaction of FKBP5 with childhood adversity on risk for post-traumatic stress disorder.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


FKBP5 regulates the cortisol-binding affinity and nuclear translocation of the glucocorticoid receptor. Polymorphisms at the FKBP5 locus have been associated with increased recurrence risk of depressive episodes and rapid response to antidepressant treatment. A recent study showed that FKBP5 genotypes moderated the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms associated with childhood maltreatment. One thousand one hundred forty-three European Americans (EAs) and 1284 African Americans (AAs) recruited for studies of the genetics of substance dependence were also screened for lifetime PTSD. Four single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in FKBP5, rs3800373, rs9296158, rs1360780, and rs9470080, were genotyped on the complete sample. Logistic regression analyses were performed to explore the interactive effect of FKBP5 polymorphisms and childhood adversity on the risk for PTSD. After correction for multiple testing, childhood adversity significantly increased the risk for PTSD. FKBP5 genotypes were not associated with the development of the disorder. In AAs, one of the SNPs, rs9470080, moderated the risk of PTSD that was associated with childhood abuse. Without childhood adverse experiences, participants with the TT genotype of this SNP had the lowest risk for PTSD, whereas they had the highest risk for PTSD after childhood adversity exposure. In addition, in EAs, alcohol dependence was observed to interact with childhood adverse experiences, and also FKBP5 polymorphisms, to increase the risk for PTSD. This study provides further evidence of a gene x environment effect of FKBP5 and childhood abuse on the risk for PTSD in AAs. Further study is required in other populations.

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