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Variability in the 5-HT2A receptor gene is associated with seasonal pattern in major depression


The 102-T/C polymorphism of the 5-HT2A receptor gene was analysed in 159 patients with major depression and 164 unrelated and healthy controls using a case-control design. Allele and genotype frequencies did not differ between cases and controls. No differences according to sex, age of onset, melancholia, suicidal behaviour or family history of psychiatric illness were found. However, genotype distributions significantly differed between patients with seasonal pattern in their episodes (MDS) and patients with no seasonal pattern (N-MDS) (χ2 = 10.63; P = 0.004). A seasonal pattern was 7.57 times more frequent in 102C-allele carriers than in 102T homozygous (95.1% of patients MDS carried 102C-allele vs 72% of patients N-MDS (χ2 = 9.45, df=1, P = 0.002; OR = 7.57 (95% CI: 1.65–48.08)). These results suggest that variation in the 5-HT2A receptor gene may play a role in the development of major depression with seasonal pattern and support the existence of a genetic and etiological heterogeneity underlying the diagnosis of major depression.

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This work was supported by a grant from Ministerio de Educación y Cultura and Dirección General de Enseñanza Superior e Investigación Científica PM98–0184. Bárbara Arias was awarded a Bolsa d'Estudis Abelard Fàbrega by Institut d'Estudis Catalans. The authors would like to thank referees for their useful comments.

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Correspondence to L Fañanás.

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Arias, B., Gutiérrez, B., Pintor, L. et al. Variability in the 5-HT2A receptor gene is associated with seasonal pattern in major depression. Mol Psychiatry 6, 239–242 (2001).

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  • 5-HT2A gene
  • seasonality
  • major affective disorders

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