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Mol Psychiatry. 2006 Apr;11(4):352-60.

The thermolabile variant of MTHFR is associated with depression in the British Women's Heart and Health Study and a meta-analysis.

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Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Whiteladies Road, Bristol, UK.


Low dietary folate intake has been implicated as a risk factor for depression. However, observational epidemiological studies are plagued by problems of confounding, reverse causality and measurement error. A common polymorphism (C677T) in MTHFR is associated with methyltetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) activity and circulating folate and homocysteine levels and offers insights into whether the association between low folate and depression is causal. We genotyped this polymorphism in 3,478 women in the British Women's Heart and Health Study. In these women, we looked at the association between genotype and three indicators of depression; ever diagnosed as depressed, currently taking antidepressants and the EuroQol mood question. We also carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of all published studies which have looked at the association between MTHFR C677T genotype and depression. In the British Women's Heart and Health Study, we found evidence of an increased risk of ever being diagnosed as depressed in MTHFR C677T TT individuals compared with CC individuals, odds ratio (OR) 1.35(95% CI: 1.01, 1.80). Furthermore, we identified eight other studies, which have examined the association between depression and MTHFR C677T. We were able to include all of these studies in our meta-analysis together with our results, obtaining an overall summary OR of 1.36 (95% CI: 1.11, 1.67, P=0.003). Since this genotype influences the functioning of the folate metabolic pathway, these findings suggest that folate or its derivatives may be causally related to risk of depression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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