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Early-life adversities represent risk factors for the development of bipolar affective disorder and are associated with higher severity of the disorder. This may be the consequence of a sustained alteration of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis resulting from epigenetic modifications of the gene coding for the glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1).
To investigate whether severity of childhood maltreatment is associated with increased methylation of the exon? 1FNR3C1 promoter in bipolar disorder.
A sample of people with bipolar disorder (n = 99) were assessed for childhood traumatic experiences. The percentage of NR3C1 methylation was measured for each participant.
The higher the number of trauma events, the higher was the percentage of NR3C1 methylation (β = 0.52, 95% CI 0.46–0.59, P<<0.0001). The severity of each type of maltreatment (sexual, physical and emotional) was also associated with NR3C1 methylation status.
Early-life adversities have a sustained effect on the HPA axis through epigenetic processes and this effect may be measured in peripheral blood. This enduring biological impact of early trauma may alter the development of the brain and lead to adult psychopathological disorder.
Adverse drug reactions are important determinants of non-adherence to
antidepressant treatment but their assessment is complicated by overlap
with depressive symptoms and lack of reliable self-report measures.
To evaluate a simple self-report measure and describe adverse reactions
to antidepressants in a large sample.
The newly developed self-report Antidepressant Side-Effect Checklist and
the psychiatrist-rated UKU Side Effect Rating Scale were repeatedly
administered to 811 adult participants with depression in a
part-randomised multicentre open-label study comparing escitalopram and
There was good agreement between self-report and psychiatrists' ratings.
Most complaints listed as adverse reactions in people with depression
were more common when they were medication-free rather than during their
treatment with antidepressants. Dry mouth (74%), constipation (33%) and
weight gain (15%) were associated with nortriptyline treatment. Diarrhoea
(9%), insomnia (36%) and yawning (16%) were more common during treatment
with escitalopram. Problems with urination and drowsiness predicted
discontinuation of nortriptyline. Diarrhoea and decreased appetite
predicted discontinuation of escitalopram.
Adverse reactions to antidepressants can be reliably assessed by
self-report. Attention to specific adverse reactions may improve
adherence to antidepressant treatment.
There have been conflicting reports on whether the length polymorphism in
the promoter of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) moderates the
antidepressant effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
(SSRIs). We hypothesised that the pharmacogenetic effect of 5-HTTLPR is
modulated by gender, age and other variants in the serotonin transporter
To test the hypothesis that the 5-HTTLPR differently influences response
to escitalopram (an SSRI) compared with nortriptyline (a noradrenaline
The 5-HTTLPR and 13 additional markers across the serotonin transporter
gene were genotyped in 795 adults with moderate-to-severe depression
treated with escitalopram or nortriptyline in the Genome Based
Therapeutic Drugs for Depression (GENDEP) project.
The 5-HTTLPR moderated the response to escitalopram, with long-allele
carriers improving more than short-allele homozygotes. A significant
three-way interaction between 5-HTTLPR, drug and gender indicated that
the effect was concentrated in males treated with escitalopram. The
single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2020933 also influenced outcome.
The effect of 5-HTTLPR on antidepressant response is SSRI specific
conditional on gender and modulated by another polymorphism at the 5' end
of the serotonin transporter gene.