Relationship between neuroticism personality trait and serotonin transporter binding

Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Sep 15;62(6):588-92. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.11.007. Epub 2007 Mar 6.


Background: Personality trait is thought to be one of the important factors for vulnerability to depression. The relation between serotonin transporter (5-HTT) polymorphism and anxiety-related personality has been investigated in genetic research. In this study, we investigated the relation between in vivo regional 5-HTT binding in the brain and personality inventory measures in normal male volunteers.

Methods: Thirty-one healthy male volunteers underwent positron emission tomography scans with (11)C-labeled 3-amino-4-(2-dimethylaminomethyl-phenylsulfanyl) benzonitrile ([(11)C]DASB) to measure 5-HTT and completed revised NEO Personality Inventory. Correlation of [(11)C]DASB binding potentials (BP) with personality inventory measures was calculated using region-of-interest analysis and statistical parametric mapping based on the BP images.

Results: Neuroticism was positively correlated with 5-HTT binding in the thalamus (p = .004). No significant correlation was observed in any other brain region. Within the neuroticism dimension, the facet of depression was positively correlated with 5-HTT binding in the thalamus (p = .001).

Conclusions: Subjects with higher thalamic 5-HTT binding are more likely to express higher levels of neuroticism and depressive feeling. Serotonin transporter binding in the thalamus might be a marker of vulnerability to depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Benzylamines / metabolism
  • Biomarkers
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Carbon Radioisotopes / metabolism
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / metabolism
  • Disease Susceptibility / diagnosis
  • Disease Susceptibility / diagnostic imaging
  • Disease Susceptibility / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neurotic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Neurotic Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Personality / genetics
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sex Factors
  • Thalamus / diagnostic imaging
  • Thalamus / metabolism*


  • Benzylamines
  • Biomarkers
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • N,N-dimethyl-2-(2-amino-4-cyanophenylthio)benzylamine
  • SLC6A4 protein, human
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins