Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have made significant progress in identifying the first susceptibility gene for clinical depression, the second leading cause of disability worldwide, possibly providing an important step toward changing the way doctors diagnose and treat major depression that affects nearly 10 percent of the population.
Research results, which were accepted for rapid publication and published today in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, show significant evidence for linkage of unipolar mood disorders to a specific region of chromosome 2q33-35 in women. The findings suggest that a gene in this region contributes to the vulnerability of women in families afflicted with recurrent, early onset major depressive disorder (RE-MDD), to developing mood disorders of varying severity. Men with the same genetic background did not have any more chance of developing mood disorders than normal.
"We have narrowed our search for a susceptibility locus for clinical depression to a small region of chromosome 2 that constitutes only 0.01% of the human genome," said lead author George S. Zubenko, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and adjunct professor of biological sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. "These results confirm our earlier findings this year that the susceptibility gene in this region selectively affects the vulnerability of women, but not men, to developing severe depression."
Craig Dunhoff | EurekAlert!
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