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Appetite. 2011 Oct;57(2):339-48. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2011.05.325. Epub 2011 Jun 6.

Dopamine polymorphisms and depressive symptoms predict foods intake. Results from a nationally representative sample.

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Health Behavior Research Branch, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, 6130 Executive Blvd., Rockville, MD 20852, USA.


Depression and variation in dopamine related genes have both independently been associated with food consumption. Depressive symptoms could synergistically interact with genetic variation to influence food intake. We examined the interaction between high depressive symptoms and functional polymorphisms of dopamine transporter (SLC6A3), monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2) and dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) on intake of high-calorie sweet, high-calorie non-sweet, and low-calorie foods in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Multivariate linear regression analyses were used to examine main effects of gene and depression symptoms and their interaction (genotype-by-high depression symptoms) on food categories. Applying a false discovery rate criterion for multiple comparisons indicated a statistically significant interaction for females with high depressive symptoms and the SLC6A3 gene, such that those with the SLC6A3 10/10 allele reported greater intake of high-calorie sweet foods than their counterparts high in depressive symptoms with the SLC6A3 any 9 allele (LS mean 10/10 allele=2.5, SE=.13; LS mean any 9 allele=1.8, SE=.13, p<.05). These findings highlight that the relationship between depression and food intake may vary as a function of genetic polymorphism. Further research is needed to confirm these findings.

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