Several studies indicate that 5-HTTLPR mediates the effect of childhood adversity in the development of depression, while results are contradictory for recent negative life events. For childhood adversity the interaction with genotype is strongest for sexual abuse, but not for other types of childhood maltreatment; however, possible interactions with specific recent life events have not been investigated separately. The aim of our study was to investigate the effect of four distinct types of recent life events in the development of depressive symptoms in a large community sample. Interaction between different types of recent life events measured by the List of Threatening Experiences and the 5-HTTLPR genotype on current depression measured by the depression subscale and additional items of the Brief Symptom Inventory was investigated in 2588 subjects in Manchester and Budapest. Only a nominal interaction was found between life events overall and 5-HTTLPR on depression, which failed to survive correction for multiple testing. However, subcategorising life events into four categories showed a robust interaction between financial difficulties and the 5-HTTLPR genotype, and a weaker interaction in the case of illness/injury. No interaction effect for the other two life event categories was present. We investigated a general non-representative sample in a cross-sectional approach. Depressive symptoms and life event evaluations were self-reported. The 5-HTTLPR polymorphism showed a differential interaction pattern with different types of recent life events, with the strongest interaction effects of financial difficulties on depressive symptoms. This specificity of interaction with only particular types of life events may help to explain previous contradictory findings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Biological Psychiatry