Background: Inter-individual differences in the monoaminergic systems have been shown to moderate the risk for a lifetime history of anxiety, affective, and alcohol use disorders. A common single nucleotide polymorphism in the vesicular monoamine transporter 1 gene (VMAT1 rs1390938 G/A; Thr136Ile) has been reported as functional in vitro and associated with bipolar disorder and anxiety. We aimed at assessing the association between the VMAT1 genotype, affect, and affect-related psychiatric disorders in a longitudinal population-representative study.
Methods: We used the database of the Estonian Children Personality Behaviour and Health Study (beginning in 1998). Cohorts of initially 9- (recalled at ages 15 and 18 years, n=579) and 15- (recalled at ages 18 and 25 years; n=654) year-old children provided self-reports on impulsivity, anxiety, depressiveness, neuroticism, and alcohol use. In addition, psychiatric assessment based on DSM-IV was carried out in the older cohort at age 25 years.
Results: Subjects homozygous for the less prevalent A (136Ile) allele reported lower maladaptive impulsivity, state and trait anxiety, depressiveness, and neuroticism and were less likely to have been diagnosed with an affective, anxiety, and/or alcohol use disorder by young adulthood. While in the younger cohort alcohol use started at younger age, this birth cohort effect was dependent on genotype: only G allele carriers and in particular the GG homozygotes started alcohol use earlier.
Conclusions: VMAT1 rs1390938/Thr136Ile is associated with mood, personality, and alcohol use in the general population. Subjects homozygous for the "hyperfunction" allele (AA; Ile/Ile) appear to be more resilient to these disorders.
Keywords: VMAT1; affective disorders; alcohol use; anxiety; cohort effect.
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of CINP.