Family-based study of AVPR1B association and interaction with stressful life events on depression and anxiety in suicide attempts

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013 Jul;38(8):1504-11. doi: 10.1038/npp.2013.49. Epub 2013 Feb 19.


The cortisol response to psychosocial stress may become dysregulated in stress-related disorders. It is potentiated by pituitary secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which is, in part, regulated by arginine vasopressin receptor-1B (AVPR1B). AVPR1B variants were previously reported to associate with mood and anxiety disorders. This study aims, for the first time, to investigate association of AVPR1B genetic variants with mood and anxiety outcomes in suicidal behavior.Using a family-based study design of 660 complete nuclear family trios with offspring who have made a suicide attempt (SA), we tested the direct association and linkage of AVPR1B single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with SA, as well as with depression and anxiety in SA. Main findings were the association and linkage of AVPR1B exon 1 SNP rs33990840 and a major 6-SNP haplotype representative of all common AVPR1B-SNPs, on the outcome of high Beck Depression Inventory scores in SA. By contrast, genetic associations with lifetime diagnoses of depression and anxiety in SA or gene-environment interactions between AVPR1B variants and stressful life events (SLEs) were not significant. An exploratory screen of interactions between AVPR1B and CRHR1 (corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor-1), the principal pituitary regulator of ACTH secretion, showed no support for gene-gene interactions on the studied outcomes. The results suggest that AVPR1B genetic variation, eg, non-synonymous SNP rs33990840 mediating putative consequences on ligand binding, has a role in SA etiology characterized by elevated depression symptoms, without involving AVPR1B-moderation of SLEs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / genetics*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Depression / genetics*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies* / methods
  • Genetic Variation / genetics
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics
  • Receptors, Vasopressin / genetics*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Suicide, Attempted* / psychology
  • Young Adult


  • Receptors, Vasopressin