Alterations in the folate pathway have been related to both major depression and cognitive inflexibility; however, they have not been investigated in the genetic background of ruminative response style, which is a form of perseverative cognition and a risk factor for depression. In the present study, we explored the association of rumination (measured by the Ruminative Responses Scale) with polymorphisms of two distinct folate pathway genes, MTHFR rs1801133 (C677T) and MTHFD1L rs11754661, in a combined European white sample from Budapest, Hungary (n=895) and Manchester, United Kingdom (n=1309). Post hoc analysis investigated whether the association could be replicated in each of the two samples, and the relationship between folate pathway genes, rumination, lifetime depression and Brief Symptom Inventory depression score. Despite its functional effect on folate metabolism, the MTHFR rs1801133 showed no effect on rumination. However, the A allele of MTHFD1L rs11754661 was significantly associated with greater rumination, and this effect was replicated in both the Budapest and Manchester samples. In addition, rumination completely mediated the effects of MTHFD1L rs11754661 on depression phenotypes. These findings suggest that the MTHFD1L gene, and thus the C1 -THF synthase enzyme of the folate pathway localized in mitochondria, has an important effect on the pathophysiology of depression through rumination, and maybe via this cognitive intermediate phenotype on other mental and physical disorders. Further research should unravel whether the reversible metabolic effect of MTHFD1L is responsible for increased rumination or other long-term effects on brain development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience