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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1999 Nov;38(11):1396-402.

Effects of serotonin transporter promoter genotype on platelet serotonin transporter functionality in depressed children and adolescents.

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Child Psychiatry Unit, Istituto Scientifico Eugenio Medea, Bosisio Parini, Italy.



To investigate possible associations between serotonin transporter (5-HTT) promoter genotypic variants (l/l, l/s, and s/s) and differential regulation of platelet 5-HTT functionality parameters in a group of drug-naive depressed children and adolescents and healthy controls.


Children and adolescents with major depression (n = 18) defined by DSM-III-R criteria and normal controls (n = 21) were assessed both for platelet serotonin functionality and for genotypic variants on 5-HTT promoter region. Four parameters were considered: (1) serotonin uptake rate (Vmax); (2) serotonin dissociation constant (K(m)); (3) paroxetine binding and density of site (Bmax); and (4) paroxetine dissociation constant (Kd).


Depressed children had lower Vmax and K(m). Control subjects with l/l genotype had significantly higher Vmax than control subjects with l/s and s/s genotype. Control subjects with l/l genotype also had significantly higher Vmax than their depressed homologs. In contrast, Vmax was not significantly different between depressed and nondepressed subjects who carried the other 2 genotypes. The 5-HTT promoter genotype, diagnoses, or their interaction had no effect on the other serotonin parameters.


While showing a significant decrease of Vmax and K(m) in a group of drug-naive depressed children and adolescents, these data suggest that l/l genotype has a substantial effect on the decrease of Vmax during a depressive episode.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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