The role of genetic variability in the SLC6A4, BDNF and GABRA6 genes in anxiety-related traits

Authors

  • B. Arias,

    1. Department of Animal Biology, Anthropology Section, Faculty of Biology, University of Barcelona and Biomedicine Institute of the University of Barcelona (IBUB), Barcelona
    2. Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental (CIBERSAM), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid
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    • Authors contributed equally to the manuscript.

  • M. Aguilera,

    1. Department of Animal Biology, Anthropology Section, Faculty of Biology, University of Barcelona and Biomedicine Institute of the University of Barcelona (IBUB), Barcelona
    2. Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental (CIBERSAM), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid
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    • Authors contributed equally to the manuscript.

  • J. Moya,

    1. Department of Basic Psychology, Clinical and Psychobiology, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Jaume I University, Castellón
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  • P. A. Sáiz,

    1. Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental (CIBERSAM), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid
    2. Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain
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  • H. Villa,

    1. Department of Basic Psychology, Clinical and Psychobiology, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Jaume I University, Castellón
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  • M. I. Ibáñez,

    1. Department of Basic Psychology, Clinical and Psychobiology, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Jaume I University, Castellón
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  • M. P. García-Portillo,

    1. Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental (CIBERSAM), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid
    2. Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain
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  • J. Bobes,

    1. Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental (CIBERSAM), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid
    2. Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain
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  • G. Ortet,

    1. Department of Basic Psychology, Clinical and Psychobiology, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Jaume I University, Castellón
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  • L. Fañanás

    1. Department of Animal Biology, Anthropology Section, Faculty of Biology, University of Barcelona and Biomedicine Institute of the University of Barcelona (IBUB), Barcelona
    2. Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental (CIBERSAM), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid
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Lourdes Fañanás, Unitat d’Antropologia, Dep. Biologia Animal, Facultat Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona. Av. Diagonal 645, 08028, Barcelona, Spain.
E-mail: lfananas@ub.edu

Abstract

Arias B, Aguilera M, Moya J, Sáiz PA, Villa H, Ibáñez MI, García-Portillo MP, Bobes J, Ortet G, Fañanás L. The role of genetic variability in the SLC6A4, BDNF and GABRA6 genes in anxiety-related traits.

Objective:  The aims of this study were to test the individual association of the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4), the brain-derived neurotrophic factor gene (BDNF) and the GABAAα6 receptor subunit gene (GABRA6) with anxiety-related traits and to explore putative gene–gene interactions in a Spanish healthy sample.

Method:  A sample of 937 individuals from the general population completed the Temperament and Character Inventory questionnaire to explore Harm Avoidance (HA) dimension; a subsample of 553 individuals also filled in the Big Five Questionnaire to explore the Neuroticism dimension. The whole sample was genotyped for the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism (SLC6A4 gene), the Val66Met polymorphism (BDNF gene) and the T1521C polymorphism (GABRA6 gene).

Results:  Homozygous individuals for the T allele of the T1512C polymorphism presented slightly higher scores for HA than C allele carriers (F = 2.96, P = 0.019). In addition, there was a significant gene–gene interaction on HA between the 5-HTTLPR and Val66Met polymorphisms (F = 3.4, P = 0.009).

Conclusion:  GABRA6 emerges as a candidate gene involved in the variability of HA. The effect of a significant gene–gene interaction between the SLC6A4 and BDNF genes on HA could explain part of the genetic basis underlying anxiety-related traits.

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