Brain derived neurotrophic factor Val66Met polymorphism, the five factor model of personality and hippocampal volume: Implications for depressive illness

Authors

  • Russell T. Joffe,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey
    • Department of Psychiatry, New Jersey Medical School, 111 Dunnell Rd., Maplewood, NJ 07040
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  • Justine M. Gatt,

    1. The Brain Dynamics Centre, Westmead Millennium Institute, Westmead Hospital and Western Clinical School, University of Sydney, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
    2. Psychological Medicine, Western Clinical School, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Andrew H. Kemp,

    1. The Brain Dynamics Centre, Westmead Millennium Institute, Westmead Hospital and Western Clinical School, University of Sydney, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
    2. Psychological Medicine, Western Clinical School, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Stuart Grieve,

    1. The Brain Resource Company and the Brain Resource International Database, Ultimo, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Carol Dobson-Stone,

    1. Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia
    2. Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute and University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
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  • Stacey A. Kuan,

    1. The Brain Dynamics Centre, Westmead Millennium Institute, Westmead Hospital and Western Clinical School, University of Sydney, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
    2. Psychological Medicine, Western Clinical School, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Peter R. Schofield,

    1. Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia
    2. Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute and University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
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  • Evian Gordon,

    1. The Brain Dynamics Centre, Westmead Millennium Institute, Westmead Hospital and Western Clinical School, University of Sydney, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
    2. Psychological Medicine, Western Clinical School, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    3. The Brain Resource Company and the Brain Resource International Database, Ultimo, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Leanne M. Williams

    1. The Brain Dynamics Centre, Westmead Millennium Institute, Westmead Hospital and Western Clinical School, University of Sydney, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
    2. Psychological Medicine, Western Clinical School, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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Abstract

Altered hippocampal volume, the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism, and neuroticism have each been implicated in the etiology of psychiatric disorders, especially depression. However, the relationship between these variables is not well understood. Here, we determined the effects of the BDNF Val66met polymorphism on the five-factor personality dimensions (assessed using the NEO-FFI), trait depression (assessed with the DASS-21) in a cross-sectional cohort of 467 healthy volunteers. A large matched subset of this cohort was also assessed for grey matter volume of the hippocampus and contiguous temporal cortical regions using magnetic resonance imaging. In Met carriers, elevations in neuroticism and trait depression and stress were associated with lower mean hippocampal volume, but there were no such associations in Val homozygotes. Trait depression, in particular, was found to moderate the effects of BDNF genotypes on hippocampal volume. Met carriers with high trait depression showed a reduction in grey matter volume of the mean hippocampus compared with Val homozygotes. These findings suggest that even in otherwise healthy subjects, trait depression may contribute to the susceptibility of Met carriers to hippocampal grey matter loss. Hum Brain Mapp 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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