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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2019 Mar 8. pii: S0890-8567(19)30183-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2019.03.006. [Epub ahead of print]

A Role of Oxytocin Receptor Gene Brain Tissue Expression Quantitative Trait Locus rs237895 in the Intergenerational Transmission of the Effects of Maternal Childhood Maltreatment.

Author information

1
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Institute of Medical Psychology, Berlin, Germany.
2
Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and the Sackler Program for Epigenetics and Psychobiology at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
3
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Institute of Medical Psychology, Berlin, Germany; Development, Health, and Disease Research Program, University of California, Irvine.
4
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Institute of Medical Psychology, Berlin, Germany; Penn State University, University Park, PA.
5
Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
6
Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and the Sackler Program for Epigenetics and Psychobiology at McGill University, Montreal, Canada; Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Singapore.
7
Max-Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany; Simon Fraser University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Burnaby, and BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
8
Max-Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany; Development, Health, and Disease Research Program, University of California, Irvine.
9
Development, Health, and Disease Research Program, University of California, Irvine; University of California, Irvine.
10
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Institute of Medical Psychology, Berlin, Germany; Development, Health, and Disease Research Program, University of California, Irvine. Electronic address: Claudia.buss@charite.de.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Women exposed to childhood maltreatment (CM) are more likely to exhibit insensitive parenting, which may have consequences for their offspring´s development. Variation in the Oxytocin-receptor gene (OXTR) moderates risk of CM-associated long-term sequelae associated with mother-child attachment, although functionality of previously investigated SNPs remained elusive. Here, we investigated the role of OXTR rs237895, a brain tissue expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL), as a moderator of the relationship between CM and maternal behavior (MB) and the association between MB and offspring attachment security.

METHOD:

Of 110 women with information on rs237895 genotype (T-allele=64, CC=46), n=107 have information on CM (CTQ) and n=99 on standardized observer-based ratings of MB at 6 months postpartum (responsivity and detachment), which were used in principal components analysis to obtain a latent factor representing MB. Offspring (n=86) attachment was evaluated at 12 months age. Analyses predicting MB were adjusted for socioeconomic status (SES), age, postpartum depression (PPD), and genotype-based ethnicity. Analyses predicting child attachment were adjusted for infant sex, SES, and PPD.

RESULTS:

rs237895 significantly moderates the relationship between CM and MB (F1;66=7.99, p<.01), indicating that CM was associated with maternal insensitivity only in high OXTR-expressing T-allele carriers but not in low OXTR-expressing CC homozygotes. Moreover, maternal insensitivity predicted offspring insecure attachment (B= -.551; p<.05).

CONCLUSION:

Women with a high OXTR expressing genotype are more susceptible to CM-related impairments in MB that, in turn, predicts attachment security in their children, supporting the role of the OT-system in the intergenerational transmission of risk associated with maternal CM.

KEYWORDS:

childhood maltreatment; cxytocin receptor gene; gene-environment interaction; intergenerational transmission; parenting

PMID:
30858011
DOI:
10.1016/j.jaac.2019.03.006

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