Allelic variation of serotonin transporter expression is associated with depression in Parkinson's disease

Mol Psychiatry. 2001 May;6(3):350-2. doi: 10.1038/


Idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder with prominent motor symptoms. However, depression is common in PD, affecting about 40% of PD patients. Since there is extensive evidence of degeneration of serotonin (5HT) neurons and loss of the 5HT transporter (5HTT) in PD, we assessed whether a functional polymorphism in the promoter of the 5HTT gene (5HTT gene-linked polymorphic region, 5HTTLPR), which determines high or low 5HT uptake, is associated with depressive symptomatology in PD patients. We found that patients with the short allele of the 5HTTLPR had significantly higher scores on the Hamilton Depression Scale. A functional promoter polymorphism of the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene showed no association. Thus, the 5HTTLPR but not the MAOA gene promoter-associated polymorphism may be a risk factor for depression in PD patients, while neither polymorphism increases the risk for development of Parkinson's disease itself.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Depression / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Monoamine Oxidase / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics*
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • SLC6A4 protein, human
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Monoamine Oxidase