Linkage analysis of candidate loci in families with recurrent major depression

Mol Psychiatry. 1998 Mar;3(2):162-8. doi: 10.1038/


Recurrent major depression, RMD, is characterized by the occurrence of depressive episodes in the absence of mania and/or hypomania. In linkage studies, RMD (or, in general, unipolar depression) are frequently grouped together with bipolar illnesses into a broad definition of affective disorders. However, twin studies suggest that RMD and bipolar disorders might have different genetic determinants. The objective of this study was to test a set of families with RMD for linkage to chromosomes that have been recently proposed to contain susceptibility loci for bipolar disorders: chromosomes 16, 18, 21 and the short arm of chromosome 4. We analysed five large families from the northern part of Sweden ascertained through a proband with RMD and containing several patients with RMD. For the genetic analysis, we included only severely affected individuals (those who had at least three episodes that required medical treatment) to increase the chances of finding a larger degree of genetic determination. The genetic model led to a total disease prevalence of 5% in females and 3% in males. We did not find significant evidence for linkage to any of the candidate chromosomes in the combined family set. Only one of the families showed a slight indication for linkage with markers from the pericentromeric region of chromosome 18. A genome scan analysis on an extended collaborative family material with severely affected individuals with RMD should be performed to evaluate whether RMD and bipolar disorders have a different genetic etiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bipolar Disorder / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 16 / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 18 / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 21 / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 4 / genetics
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genes, Dominant
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Humans
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Lod Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Genetic
  • Pedigree
  • Prevalence
  • Recurrence
  • Sweden / epidemiology