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Pharmacogenomics. 2008 Jul;9(7):841-6. doi: 10.2217/14622416.9.7.841.

Genetic variants in FKBP5 affecting response to antidepressant drug treatment.

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  • 1Institute of Pharmacology of Natural Products & Clinical Pharmacology, University of Ulm, Helmholtzstr. 20,89081 Ulm, Germany.



Hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is a pathogenic mechanism of depression, and genetic polymorphisms in HPA axis genes have been described to influence response to antidepressant drugs. In particular, two polymorphisms in FKBP5, a co-chaperone of the glucocorticoid receptor, were strongly associated with response to therapy. We aimed to analyze whether these findings could be reproduced in a different sample of otherwise comparable inpatients with major depression.


Genotyping for the two variants within the FKBP5 gene was performed using PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism and Taqman real-time PCR in a cohort of 179 inpatients who were monitored for the first 3 weeks of antidepressant drug treatment. The early response to antidepressant drugs was assessed as percentage of decline in Hamilton depression score after 3 weeks, responders versus nonresponders were distinguished by a 50% decrease.


The FKBP5 variants rs3800373 and rs1360780 were highly linked, and carriers of the FKBP5 variants had a trend towards a higher chance to respond (p = 0.04; odds ratio: 1.8; 95% CI: 0.98-3.3). When analyzing drug-specific subgroups, the effect was seen mainly in the subgroups of patients treated with antidepressant drug combinations or with venlafaxine.


In this study, an effect of FKBP5 variants on antidepressant drug response was confirmed in an independent cohort of depressed patients; however, with an odds ratio of 1.8 the effect size was smaller than that described earlier.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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