Thursday, December 24, 2015

Influence of the 5-HT3A Receptor Gene Polymorphism and Childhood Sexual Trauma on Central Serotonin Activity

Gene-environment interactions are important for understanding alterations in human brain function. The loudness dependence of auditory evoked potential (LDAEP) is known to reflect central serotonergic activity. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the 5-HT3A serotonin receptor gene are associated with psychiatric disorders. This study aimed to investigate the effect between 5-HT3A receptor gene polymorphisms and childhood sexual trauma on the LDAEP as an electrophysiological marker in healthy subjects.

A total of 206 healthy subjects were recruited and evaluated using the childhood trauma questionnaire (CTQ) and hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS). Peak-to-peak N1/P2 was measured at five stimulus intensities, and the LDAEP was calculated as the linear-regression slope. In addition, the rs1062613 SNPs of 5-HT3A (CC, CT, and TT) were analyzed in healthy subjects.

There was a significant interaction between scores on the CTQ-sexual abuse subscale and 5-HT3A genotype on the LDAEP. Subjects with the CC polymorphism had a significantly higher LDEAP than T carriers in the sexually abused group. In addition, CC genotype subjects in the sexually abused group showed a significantly higher LDAEP compared with CC genotype subjects in the non-sexually abused group.

Our findings suggest that people with the CC polymorphism of the 5-HT3A gene have a greater risk of developing mental health problems if they have experienced childhood sexual abuse, possibly due to low central serotonin activity. Conversely, the T polymorphism may be protective against any central serotonergic changes following childhood sexual trauma.

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Kuk-In Jang, Jeong-Ho Chae
Department of Biomedicine & Health Sciences, The Catholic University of Korea, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

Seung-Hwan Lee
Department of Psychiatry, Inje University College of Medicine, Ilsan Paik Hospital, Goyang, Korea

Kuk-In Jang, Seung-Hwan Lee
Clinical Emotion and Cognition Research Laboratory, Inje University, Goyang, Korea

Hyu Jung Huh, Jeong-Ho Chae
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

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