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Neurosci Lett. 2012 Jul 11;521(1):88-91. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2012.05.065. Epub 2012 Jun 2.

Association of MTHFR C677T polymorphism with loneliness but not depression in cognitively normal elderly males.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.


Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T polymorphism is involved in folate and homocysteine metabolism, and has been associated with geriatric disorders, including dementia and late-life depression. The present work aimed to investigate the effect of MTHFR C677T polymorphism on the presence of depression and loneliness in cognitively normal male subjects. A total of 323 cognitively normal male subjects were included in this study (mean age=80.6; SD=5.3). Depression was assessed by the Geriatric Depression Scale-Short Form (GDS-SF) and loneliness by UCLA loneliness scales. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test the between MTHFR genotype difference in depression and loneliness. Multiple regression was used to test the effect of MTHFR polymorphism on the loneliness, controlling for age, education, cognitive function, and depression. ANOVA showed a significant between-genotype difference in loneliness scores (P=0.015), and post hoc comparisons showed that subjects with C/C genotype had significantly higher loneliness ratings, compared to those with C/T or T/T genotype. Regression analysis indicated that the effect of MTHFR polymorphism on loneliness was independent of age, education, cognitive function, and depression. Our findings suggest that MTHFR C677T polymorphism may be linked more to loneliness than depression in the cognitively normal elderly males, and may be implicated in the pathophysiology of late-life depression in relation to MTHFR genes.

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