Seasonal changes in brain serotonin transporter binding in short serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region-allele carriers but not in long-allele homozygotes

Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Jun 1;67(11):1033-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.11.027. Epub 2010 Jan 27.

Abstract

Background: A polymorphism in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) has been associated with seasonality both in patients with seasonal affective disorder and in the general population.

Method: We used in vivo molecular imaging to measure cerebral serotonin transporter (5-HTT) binding in 57 healthy Scandinavians and related the outcome to season of the year and to the 5-HTTLPR carrier status.

Results: We found that the number of daylight minutes at the time of scanning correlated negatively with 5-HTT binding in the putamen and the caudate, with a similar tendency in the thalamus, whereas this association was not observed for the midbrain. Furthermore, in the putamen, an anatomic region with relatively dense serotonin innervation, we found a significant gene x daylight effect, such that there was a negative correlation between 5-HTT binding and daylight minutes in carriers of the short 5-HTTLPR allele but not in homozygote carriers of the long allele.

Conclusions: Our findings are in line with S-carriers having an increased response in neural circuits involved in emotional processing to stressful environmental stimuli but here demonstrated as a endophenotype with dynamic changes in serotonin reuptake.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Mapping
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Periodicity*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*

Substances

  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins