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Brain Res. 2008 Nov 13;1240:12-21. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2008.08.063. Epub 2008 Sep 4.

Population-based association study and contrasting linkage disequilibrium pattern reveal genetic association of SLC6A4 with autism in the Indian population from West Bengal.

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Manovikas Biomedical Research and Diagnostic Centre, Manovikas Kendra Rehabilitation and Research Institute for the Handicapped, Bypass, Kolkata, India.


Serotoninergic dysfunction is highly implicated in autism. Serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) that regulates synaptic serotonin level has been investigated as a candidate gene for autism, but consensus opinion on possible association is still lacking. Converging evidences of platelet-hyperserotoninemia in approximately 25% of the patients, betterment of ritualistic behavior on administration of SSRI and linkage to chromosome 17q11 harboring SLC6A4, supports the hypothesis that SLC6A4 polymorphisms may contribute towards autism pathology. Our recent report on 5-HTTLPR marker represents the first study on genetic association of SLC6A4 with autism in the Indian population. Further analysis involving additional markers may reinforce the earlier hypothesis. So in the present study, we have investigated the association of a VNTR of 17 bp at intron2 (STin2) and an SNP at 3'UTR (HTT-3'UTR-SNP) of the gene with autism using family and population-based approaches. We have genotyped 421 individuals (93 autistic subjects, their parents and 160 controls) and consistent with other publications, family-based association studies using individual markers (STin2 and HTT-3'UTR-SNP) have not revealed any preferential allelic transmission to the probands. However, the interesting finding of strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) between the markers and significant disease-specific distortion in the distribution of HTT-3'UTR-SNP genotypes (T1chi(2)=5.19, P=0.02; OR=2.89, 95% CI=1.13-7.41) and the specific haplotypes of the two markers (LRS=11.85, p

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