Association of regulatoryTPH2polymorphisms with higher reduction in depressive symptoms in children and adolescents treated with fluoxetine
Genetic variability related to the brain serotonergic system has a significant impact on both the susceptibility to psychiatric disorders, such as major depressive disorder (MDD), and the response to antidepressant drugs, such as fluoxetine. TPH2 is one of the most important serotonergic candidate genes in selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) pharmacogenetic studies. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the influence of regulatory polymorphisms that are specifically located in human TPH2 transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs), and therefore could be functional by altering gene expression, on clinical improvement in children and adolescents treated with fluoxetine. The selection of SNPs was also based on their linkage disequilibrium with TPH2 rs4570625, a genetic variant with questionable functionality, which was previously associated with clinical response in our pediatric population. A total of 83 children and adolescents were clinically evaluated 12 weeks after initiating antidepressant treatment with fluoxetine for the first time. Clinical improvement was assessed by reductions in depressive symptoms measured using the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) scale. The polymorphisms rs11179002, rs60032326 and rs34517220 were, for the first time in the literature, significantly associated with higher clinical improvement. The strongest association was found for rs34517220. In particular, minor allele homozygotes showed higher score reductions on the CDI scale compared with the major allele carriers. Interestingly, this polymorphism is located in a human TPH2 TFBS for two relevant transcription factors in the serotoninergic neurons, Foxa1 and Foxa2, which together with the high level of significance found for this SNP, could indicate that rs34517220 is in fact the crucial functional genetic variant related to the fluoxetine response. These results provide new evidence for the role of regulatory genetic variants that could modulate human TPH2 expression in the SSRI antidepressant response.