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J Pineal Res. 2010 May;48(4):311-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-079X.2010.00754.x.

Single-nucleotide polymorphisms and mRNA expression for melatonin synthesis rate-limiting enzyme in recurrent depressive disorder.

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Department of Adult Psychiatry, Medical University of Lodz, Poland. <>


Depressive disorder (DD) is characterised by disturbances in blood melatonin concentration. It is well known that melatonin is involved in the control of circadian rhythms, sleep included. The use of melatonin and its analogues has been found to be effective in depression therapy. Melatonin synthesis is a multistage process, where the last stage is catalysed by acetylserotonin methyltransferase (ASMT), the reported rate-limiting melatonin synthesis enzyme. Taking into account the significance of genetic factors in depression development, the gene for ASMT may become an interesting focus for studies in patients with recurrent DD. The goal of the study was to evaluate two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (rs4446909; rs5989681) of the ASMT gene, as well as mRNA expression for ASMT in recurrent DD-affected patients. We genotyped two polymorphisms in a group of 181 recurrent DD patients and in 149 control subjects. The study was performed using the polymerase chain reaction/restriction fragment length polymorphism method. The distribution of genotypes in both studied SNPs in the ASMT gene differed significantly between DD and healthy subjects. The presence of AA genotype of rs4446909 polymorphism and of GG genotype of rs5989681 polymorphism was associated with lower risk for having recurrent DD. In turn, patients with depression were characterised by reduced mRNA expression for ASMT. In addition, ASMT transcript level in both recurrent DD patients and in healthy subjects depended significantly on genotype distributions in both polymorphisms. In conclusion, our results suggest the ASMT gene as a susceptibility gene for recurrent DD.

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