Impact of the tryptophan hydroxylase 1 gene A218C polymorphism on amygdala activity in response to affective facial stimuli in patients with major depressive disorder


B.-J. Ham, Department of Psychiatry, Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, 126-1, 5-Ka, Anam-Dong, Sungbuk-Ku, Seoul 136-705, Korea.


Tryptophan hydroxylase-1 (TPH1) is the rate-limiting enzyme in serotonin biosynthesis, and allelic variations at the TPH1 locus have been implicated in the pathophysiology of depression. Using 1.5-Tesla functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated the possible relationship between TPH1 A218C polymorphism and amygdala response to negative facial stimuli in 26 right-handed female subjects with major depressive disorder (MDD). Genotyping was performed with the polymerase chain reaction. We found a significant association between A allele of the TPH1 A218C polymorphism and neural activations in response to negative facial stimuli. Subjects with the A allele of the TPH1 A218C polymorphism showed greater brain activity in the bilateral amygdala under the sad vs. the neutral condition compared with subjects homozygous for the C allele. Our results suggest that the A218C polymorphism of the TPH1 gene serves as a modulator of amygdala activity in patients with MDD.