“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow”: 5-HTTLPR Is Associated With Current Suicidal Ideation but Not With Previous Suicide Attempts and Interacts With Recent Relationship Problems

Janos Bokor, Sandor Krause, Dora Torok, Nora Eszlari, Sara Sutori, Zsofia Gal, Peter Petschner, Ian M. Anderson, Bill Deakin, Gyorgy Bagdy, Gabriella Juhasz, Xenia Gonda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Suicide is an unresolved psychiatric and public health emergency, claiming 800,000 lives each year, however, its neurobiological etiology is still not understood. In spite of original reports concerning the involvement of 5-HTTLPR in interaction with recent stress in the appearance of suicidal ideation and attempts, replication studies have yielded contradictory results. In our study, we analyzed the association between 5-HTTLPR and lifetime suicide attempts, current suicidal ideation, hopelessness and thoughts of death as main effects, and in interaction with childhood adversities, recent stress, and different types of recent life events in a general population sample. Methods: Two thousand and three hundred fifty-eight unrelated European volunteers were genotyped for 5-HTTLPR, provided phenotypic data on previous suicide attempts, and current suicidal ideation, hopelessness and thoughts about death, and information on childhood adversities and recent life events. Logistic and linear regression models were run with age, gender, and population as covariates to test for the effect of 5-HTTLPR as a main effect and in interaction with childhood adversities and recent life events on previous suicide attempts and current suicidal ideation. Benjamini-Hochberg FDR Q values were calculated to correct for multiple testing. Results: 5-HTTLPR had no significant effect on lifetime suicide attempts either as a main effect on in interaction with childhood adversities. 5-HTTLPR had a significant main effect on current suicidal ideation in the dominant model (Q=0.0344). 5-HTTLPR did not interact with childhood adversities or total number of recent life events on any phenotypes related to current suicidal risk, however, a significant interaction effect between 5-HTTLPR and current relationship problems emerged in the case of current suicidal ideation in the dominant model (Q=0.0218) and in the case of thoughts about death and dying in the dominant (Q=0.0094) and additive models (Q=0.0281). Conclusion: While 5-HTTLPR did not influence previous suicide attempts or interacted with childhood adversities, it did influence current suicidal ideation with, in addition, an interaction with recent relationship problems supporting the involvement of 5-HTTLPR in suicide. Our findings that 5-HTTLPR impacts only certain types of suicide risk-related behaviors and that it interacts with only distinct types of recent stressors provides a possible explanation for previous conflicting findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number567
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 25 2020

Keywords

  • 5-HTTLPR
  • childhood adversities
  • recent life events
  • suicidal ideation
  • suicide attempts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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