• automatic thoughts;
  • cognitive vulnerability;
  • SNPs;
  • candidate gene approach


Automatic thoughts may be risk factors for depression and anxiety, and should be detected early. However, the genetic basis of automatic thoughts remains unclear. This study aims to investigate the genetic association of automatic thoughts with SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) involved in cognition, neurogenesis, neuronal cell structure, neurotransmitters, hypothalamus–pituitary adrenal axis and psychiatric illness. The study included 610 healthy participants. We used the Depression and Anxiety Cognition Scale (DACS), a Japanese psychological questionnaire, to assess automatic thoughts. Twenty-five SNPs including COMT, BDNF, FKBP5, SNTB1 (syntrophin-beta 1, rs4512418), and MCPH1 (microcephalin 1, rs2911968) were selected according to their minor allele frequency. Linear regression models were used to test association of mean DACS scores with each allele (major-allele homozygote, heterozygote, and minor-allele homozygote). The significant α-value was set at α < 0.002. Statistical analysis was conducted using SNPStats. Call rates for all genotypes were >98%. Eighteen SNPs did not deviate from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium, and 7 were excluded from statistical analysis. Significant associations of SNTB1 with interpersonal threat and MCPH1 with future denial were observed only in females. SNTB1 and MCPH1 are located on chromosome 8, which may be involved in neuroticism, avoidant personality and depression. Our results demonstrated that DACS scores showing significant interaction with the 2 SNPs may be regarded as appropriate traits to detect the diathesis of automatic thoughts. The 2 SNPs may be important loci in research on cognitive vulnerability to depression and anxiety. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.