Genome-wide association study of depressive symptoms in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos

J Psychiatr Res. 2018 Apr;99:167-176. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.12.010. Epub 2017 Dec 16.


Although genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several variants linked to depression, few GWAS of non-European populations have been performed. We conducted a genome-wide analysis of depression in a large, population-based sample of Hispanics/Latinos. Data came from 12,310 adults in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). Past-week depressive symptoms were assessed using the 10-item Center for Epidemiological Studies of Depression Scale. Three phenotypes were examined: a total depression score, a total score modified to account for psychiatric medication use, and a score excluding anti-depressant medication users. We estimated heritability due to common variants (h2SNP), and performed a GWAS of the three phenotypes. Replication was attempted in three independent Hispanic/Latino cohorts. We also performed sex-stratified analyses, analyzed a binary trait indicating probable depression, and conducted three trans-ethnic analyses. The three phenotypes exhibited significant heritability (h2SNP = 6.3-6.9%; p = .002) in the total sample. No SNPs were genome-wide significant in analyses of the three phenotypes or the binary indicator of probable depression. In sex-stratified analyses, seven genome-wide significant SNPs (one in females; six in males) were identified, though none were supported through replication. Four out of 24 loci identified in prior GWAS were nominally associated in HCHS/SOL. There was no evidence of overlap in genetic risk factors across ancestry groups, though this may have been due to low power. We conducted the largest GWAS of depression-related phenotypes in Hispanic/Latino adults. Results underscore the genetic complexity of depressive symptoms as a phenotype in this population and suggest the need for much larger samples.

Keywords: Depression; Depressive symptoms; Genetic association study; Hispanics/Latinos.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / ethnology
  • Depression / genetics*
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Depressive Disorder / ethnology
  • Depressive Disorder / genetics*
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Hispanic or Latino / genetics*
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / ethnology
  • Young Adult

Grant support