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Horm Metab Res. 2008 Mar;40(3):194-8. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1004541. Epub 2008 Feb 4.

Glucocorticoid receptor gene polymorphisms in premenopausal women with major depression.

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Clinical Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Glucocorticoid receptor gene polymorphisms are associated with glucocorticoid hypersensitivity and visceral obesity. Perturbations in HPA axis sensitivity to glucocorticoids implicated in the pathogenesis of major depression may result from functional alterations in the glucocorticoid receptor gene. We 1) examined the prevalence of genotype distribution of specific polymorphisms of the glucocorticoid receptor gene (Bcl1, N363S, rs33388, rs33389) in a subset of women from the P.O.W.E.R. Study (which enrolled 21- to 45-year-old premenopausal women with major depression and healthy controls) and 2) explored whether such polymorphisms were associated with visceral obesity and insulin resistance. Women with major depression had a higher body mass index, a higher waist:hip ratio, and more body fat than did controls. No differences were observed in plasma and urinary cortisol or in insulin sensitivity. The G/G genotype of the Bcl1 polymorphism was significantly more common (p<0.03) in women with major depression (n=52) than in controls (n=29). In addition, GG homozygotes (depressed n=10; controls n=2) had higher waist:hip ratios than did non-GG carriers (p<0.02). N363S, rs33388, and rs33389 polymorphisms were not different between groups. In conclusion, premenopausal women with both major depression and the GG genotype of the Bcl1 polymorphism had greater abdominal obesity compared with non-GG carriers.

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