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Genes Brain Behav. 2012 Mar;11(2):230-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2011.00741.x. Epub 2011 Nov 23.

Association of CHRNA4 polymorphism with depression and loneliness in elderly males.

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Department of Psychiatry, Taipei Veterans General Hospital School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.


The cholinergic receptor, nicotinic, alpha 4 (CHRNA4) gene encodes the neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha-4 subunit. Recent research has shown that a variation in CHRNA4 (rs1044396) affects attention and negative emotionality in normal adults. To determine the link between CHRNA4 variation and cognitive function/depressed mood, this study conducted a genotype-phenotype correlation analysis between the common CHRNA4:rs1044396 variant and several baseline parameters of cognition and depressed mood in 192 elderly male subjects without major psychiatric disorders or dementia. Study findings identified a significant link between the CHRNA4:rs1044396 polymorphism and depression and loneliness in the aged. Compared to carriers of at least one T-allele, carriers of the homozygous C/C genotype described themselves as more depressed and lonely. This is the first evidence which may implicate CHRNA4 in depressed emotions in the elderly.

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