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Gene Variant More Common in Seasonal Affective Disorder

Last Updated: November 06, 2008.

Patients with seasonal affective disorder are 5.6 times more likely to have a variant of the melanopsin gene, a non-visual photopigment, according to study findings released online in advance of publication in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

THURSDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with seasonal affective disorder are 5.6 times more likely to have a variant of the melanopsin gene, a non-visual photopigment, according to study findings released online in advance of publication in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Kathryn A. Roecklein, from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues compared the frequency of variants of the melanopsin gene in 130 patients with seasonal affective disorder and 90 controls with no history of psychopathology. Previous studies have suggested that 29 percent to 69 percent of seasonal variation in mood and behavior is heritable, the authors note.

The researchers found that seasonal affective disorder patients had a significantly higher frequency of the homozygous minor genotype (T/T) for the P10L variant (odds ratio 5.63). All seven (5 percent) of individuals with the T/T genotype were in the seasonal affective disorder group.

"These findings support the hypothesis that melanopsin variants may predispose some individuals to seasonal affective disorder," Roecklein and colleagues conclude.

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