Recently, a functional polymorphism in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene has been linked to anxiety. In cell culture, the short allele of this polymorphism synthesizes less serotonin transporter, resulting in a reduction of the removal of serotonin from the synaptic cleft. This pilot study examines depression and anxiety in Parkinson's disease patients as a function of the variation in this polymorphism. Thirty-two patients were genotyped and then blindly administered the Hamilton Depression and Anxiety Scales. Clinical data on the neurologic features of the disease were also gathered. Patients with the short allele of the serotonin transporter promotor scored significantly higher on both the depression and anxiety measures. There were no differences between groups for any neurologic variable. Patients with the short allele were more likely to have scores for anxiety and depression that indicated 'caseness.' This study suggests that the short allele of the serotonin transporter gene may represent a significant risk factor for the development of anxiety and depression in Parkinson's disease patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Psychiatry and Mental health