Whether depressed patients will respond to an antidepressant depends, in part, on which version of a gene they inherit, a study led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has discovered. Having two copies of one version of a gene that codes for a component of the brains mood-regulating system increased the odds of a favorable response to an antidepressant by up to 18 percent, compared to having two copies of the other, more common version.
Since the less common version was over 6 times more prevalent in white than in black patients – and fewer blacks responded – the researchers suggest that the gene may help to explain racial differences in the outcome of antidepressant treatment. The findings also add to evidence that the component, a receptor for the chemical messenger serotonin, plays a pivotal role in the mechanism of antidepressant action. The study, authored by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) researchers Francis J. McMahon, M.D., Silvia Buervenich, Ph.D., and Husseini Manji, M.D., along with collaborators at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and other institutions, was posted online March 8 and will appear in the May, 2006 American Journal of Human Genetics.
"This discovery brings us closer to the day when clinicians will be able to offer treatment options and medications that are tailored and personalized to be optimally effective for individual patients," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.
Jules Asher | EurekAlert!
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