Get access

Examining associations between disordered eating and serotonin transporter gene polymorphisms


  • Portions of this manuscript were presented at the Behavior Genetics Association meeting at Minneapolis, Minnesota in June, 2009.

  • Supported by DA011015, DA012485 from National Institute of Drug Abuse, by HD010333, T32 HD007289 from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and by T32 MH016880 and F31 MH084466 from National Institute for Mental Health.



The serotonin system has been implicated in mood and appetite regulation, and the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) is a commonly studied candidate gene for eating pathology. However, most studies have focused on a single polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) in SLC6A4; little research has utilized multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to investigate associations between SLC6A4 and eating pathology more comprehensively.


Family-based association tests were conducted for seven polymorphisms in or near SLC6A4, using families from the Colorado Center for Antisocial Drug Dependence. Data were available for 135 families, with phenotypic data available for female twins and female nontwin siblings. Seven items assessed two disordered eating characteristics: weight and shape concerns and behaviors (WSCB) and binge eating (BE).


No significant associations were found between any genetic variant and the two disordered eating characteristics.


This study suggests that utilizing polymorphisms in and near SLC6A4, including 5-HTTLPR, may not be useful in identifying genetic risk factors for disordered eating. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)