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Genes Brain Behav. 2011 Oct;10(7):740-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2011.00715.x. Epub 2011 Aug 1.

5-HTTLPR and BDNF Val66Met polymorphisms moderate effects of stress on rumination.

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Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712-0187, USA.


This study examined whether polymorphisms in the serotonin transporter (SLC6A4, 5-HTTLPR) and brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF Val66Met, rs6265) genes moderate the relationship between life stress and rumination. Participants were a large homogenous group of healthy, unmedicated, never depressed individuals with few current symptoms of depression (N = 273). Results indicate that individuals with two short (S) alleles of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism or two Met alleles of the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism ruminate more under conditions of life stress, compared to the other genotypes. Moreover, the accumulation of risk alleles (i.e. S and Met alleles) across genes is associated with significantly greater rumination in the context of life stress. These results suggest that both 5-HTTLPR and BDNF Val66Met moderate the relationship between life stress and rumination. These findings support the notion that variation in these genes is associated with biological sensitivity to the negative effects of stress.

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