Serotonin Transporter Promoter and Intron 2 Polymorphisms: Relationship Between Allelic Variants and Gene Expression

D. Hranilovic, J. Stefulj, Sibylle Schwab, M. Borrmann-Hassenbach, M. Albus, B. Jernej, Dieter Wildenauer

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210 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Two polymorphic regions of serotonin transporter (5-HTT) gene: a 44 base pair (hp) insertion/deletion in the promoter region (5-HTTLPR) and a 17 bp variable number of tandem repeats in second intron (VNTR-2), seem to modulate the gene's transcription in allele-dependent manner.Methods: We have earlier demonstrated association with 5-HTT gene in families multiply affected by schizophrenia. Here, we investigated separate and combined effects of VNTR-2 and 5-HTTLPR on the rate of peripheral 5-HTT transcription in a sample of offspring from those families. Relative 5-HTT mRNA levels were determined in 53 permanent lymphoblast cell lines by semiquantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction using beta-actin as reference.Results: Since the low-expressing alleles (short [S], 10) appeared to act dominantly, genotypes were grouped as "high-expressing" (long [L]/L, 12/12) versus "low-expressing" (S, 10). At both loci, nonsignificant differences in 5-HTT mRNA levels (similar to30%) were observed between "high"- and "low-expressing" genotypes. In order to search for the potential combined effect of 5-HTTLPR and VNTR-2, levels of 5-HTT mRNA were compared among three groups of samples having "low-expressing" genotype at none, one, or both loci. Increase in number of ''low-expressing" genotypes significantly reduced relative 5-HTT gene expression (p < .02).Conclusions: Our results indicate weak individual influence, but possible combined effect, of 5-HTTLPR and VNTR-2 polymorphisms on 5-HTT gene expression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1090-1094
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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