5-HTTLPR and gender moderate changes in negative affect responses to tryptophan infusion

Behav Genet. 2008 Sep;38(5):476-83. doi: 10.1007/s10519-008-9219-y. Epub 2008 Jul 26.


Expression of the serotonin transporter is affected by the genotype of the 5-HTTLPR (short and long forms) as well as the genotype of the SNP rs25531 within this region. Based on the combined genotypes for these polymorphisms, we designated each allele as a high or low expressing allele according to established expression levels-resulting in HiHi, HiLo, & LoLo genotype groups for analysis. We evaluated effects of gender and the promoter genotype on induction of negative affect by intravenous infusion of L: -tryptophan (TRP). The protocol consisted of a day-1 sham saline infusion and a day-2 active TRP infusion. Models assessed 5-HTTLPR composite genotype and gender as predictors of change in ratings of negative emotion during TRP infusion. During sham infusion there were no significant changes from baseline in mood ratings. During TRP infusion all negative affect ratings increased significantly from baseline (P's < .02). The genotype x gender interaction was a significant predictor of depression-dejection (P = .013), and trended towards predicting anger-hostility (P = .084). Males in the HiHi group had greater increases in negative affect during infusion, compared to all groups except LoLo females, who also showed increased negative affect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anger
  • Central Nervous System / physiology
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Genotype*
  • Hostility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Serotonin / metabolism
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / physiology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Tryptophan / pharmacology*


  • SLC6A4 protein, human
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Serotonin
  • Tryptophan