Association analyses of the serotonin transporter gene with lifetime depression and alcohol dependence in the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) sample

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to analyze association of the serotonin transporter gene 5–HTTLPR polymorphism on lifetime depression and alcohol dependence in the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism sample. We conducted family-based association analyses in 1913 Caucasians genotyped for the 5–HTTLPR polymorphism. We found evidence for association of the short allele with depression, but no evidence of association with alcohol dependence. On the basis of the evidence that the effect of this polymorphism may be moderated by stressful life events, we classified individuals for the presence and/or absence of stress, as defined by unemployment, relationship problems, or poor health. The evidence for the association with lifetime depression was limited to the group of individuals who had experienced stress, paralleling the direction of effects originally reported by Caspi and colleagues. No evidence was found for the association with alcohol dependence in either the stress or the no-stress groups.

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