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Mol Psychiatry. 2002;7(1):95-9.

Serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) and major psychoses.

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Department of Psychiatry, Vita-Salute University, San Raffaele Institute, Milan, Italy.


Serotoninergic neurotransmitter systems have been implicated in the pathogenesis of major psychoses. A functional polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) in the upstream regulatory region of the gene (SLC6A4) has been associated with a number of psychiatric disturbances, but conflicting replication followed. The aim of this study was to investigate the possibility that the 5-HTTLPR might be associated with major psychoses. One thousand, eight hundred and twenty inpatients (789 bipolars, 667 major depressives, 66 delusionals, 261 schizophrenics, 37 psychotics not otherwise specified-NOS) and 457 control subjects were included in this study. A subsample of 1235 patients (523 bipolars, 359 major depressives, 259 schizophrenics, 66 delusionals, 28 psychotic NOS) were evaluated for lifetime psychotic symptomatology using the Operational Criteria for Psychotic illness (OPCRIT) checklist. The subjects were also typed for 5-HTTLPR variants using PCR techniques. 5-HTTLPR allele frequencies were not significantly different between controls and bipolars, major depressives, schizophrenics, delusionals and psychotic NOS; genotype analysis also did not show any association. The analysis of symptomatology did not show significant differences. Consideration of possible stratification factors such as sex and age of onset did not significantly influence results. 5-HTTLPR variants are not therefore a liability factor for major psychoses or for major psychoses symptomatology.

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